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Hiring People With Disabilities in the Workspace

Posted by: Laurence Simons 15/05/15

What does it mean to have a truly diverse workforce? This is something we have examined on our blog many times before with the conclusion that it is not merely filling quotas with minority talent, but ensuring that there is diversity of thought present to challenge tradition and incite progression.

But one topic which sometimes seems to take a back seat to issues such as headline-grabbing initiatives to get more women onto boards is that of disability within the workplace, and of the challenges those with a disability can face finding employment within the legal and compliance sectors.

Did you know that every ten minutes, someone is born with a disability? And that more than one in three disabled jobseekers face discrimination? Which, when considered, is a disconcertingly high number. But it is not that difficult to unconsciously discriminate against someone who is disabled – for example, do those coming to your office have easy wheelchair access? And do your job adverts insist on candidates possessing a driving license? You can see what I mean.

In the financial services sector, Alan Yarrow, chairman of the UK’s Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, does much work to increase the awareness of disability as a strand of workplace diversity. And he is not alone. Studies, such as a recent one by Landman Economics, are being undertaken to demonstrate just how much an economy could benefit from tapping into the pool of currently underused disabled talent. The study indicates that in Britain alone, “just a 5% rise in disability employment rate (currently under 50%) could increase GDP by £23bn by 2030, and bring £6bn more to the Exchequer”. 

So, the legal and compliance sectors stand to gain much if they embrace the use of professionals with disabilities – not only in monetary terms, but also in issues of social responsibility and fairness. And wouldn’t you like to work for an organisation that upholds these values?