A journalist at HR Magazine is writing an article on the government’s newly published disability figures and is seeking views on them. They can be found here. The journalist is seeking reactions to this from HR leaders about what they can do to ensure further progress on this front? Is it their opportunity to lead on this?
3 responses from the Newspage community
"Sometimes, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack to actually find the support. Disability Confident is a great organisation and a great help but support needs to be more specific. With the shift to homeworking, roles have opened up for a lot more candidates who perhaps previously could not have travelled to a workplace due to a disability. There is currently a significant skills shortage and employers need to do more to open up the pool of candidates by looking at what's possible, rather than what is impossible. HRs, without a doubt, have a role to play in ensuring this happens."
"The Government needs to focus less on hitting goals or KPIs and more on tangible action. They only seem to focus on things that people can actually see, while people with hidden disabilities languish in the shadows. All they've done is celebrated and given themselves a pat on the back. Maybe they should throw another party to say well done for all their hard work."
The pandemic made remote and flexible working the norm in a lot of industries; something disabled people have been battling to achieve for decades. It's likely that this has opened up many roles that disabled applicants wouldn't have considered in the past, especially if they have sensory / mobility symptoms that are at odds with regular travel or working in a busy office. While it's great that many roles are now more accessible, it's telling that employers didn't feel able to make those adjustments when disabled candidates and employees asked for them previously. We are currently seeing a lot of employers pushing staff to return to the office even when it's not necessary for the performance of the role and this risks alienating disabled people further. Disability Confident is a great scheme in theory but, as both a recruiting manager and a disabled applicant, I've found it to be badly applied in reality. Often a company claims that all disabled applicants meeting the essential criteria will be interviewed, but at the same time equality data isn't shared with shortlisting panels, so no interview is offered. It's not unusual for a disabled applicant to contact a Disability Confident employer to ask which criteria they failed to meet, only for the employer to reply that all requirements were met but there were better applications. It's fairly simple to achieve Disability Confident status and, as nobody is really auditing its implementation effectively, it becomes a misleading logo on recruiters' websites that, in the real life experience of disabled applicants, is of little to no benefit. Employers' action around disability equality have been poor in comparison to other areas of equality work. For example, everyone talks about the gender pay gap but how often do you hear about the disability pay gap? There is a lot of work to be done on changing attitudes towards disability before any level of equality can be reached, and tick box exercises like Disability Confident are simply disguising the extent of the problems faced by disabled people.