PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
RECRUITERS MUST LEVERAGE THEIR EXPERTISE TO HELP CLOSE DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT GAP
The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has urged recruiters to leverage their expertise to help close the disability employment gap following insight which revealed that this has decreased by just 7% over the last 20 years.
In its analysis of recruitment trends from the last two decades, APSCo found that engaging disabled workers is far behind where it should be, with the government's target to reduce the gap to 16% by 2020 in potential jeopardy.
According to a Labour Force Survey, the disability employment gap in 1998 was 35.9%. In 2019, the House of Commons' 'People with disabilities in employment' report revealed that the current gap is 28.8% - just a 7.1% difference from two decades earlier. Out of the 7.7 million people of working age that reported they had a disability, only 4.1 million were in employment.
According to APSCo, recruiters must utilise their skills to drive change, by addressing this it will not only benefit businesses and candidates but recruiters too, helping steer employers in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. With skill shortages prevalent in almost every industry, increasing talent pools can massively impact productivity and by working together to quickly close this gap it can ensure everyone has access to high-quality and rewarding jobs.
Recruiters must recognise the role they play in helping to eradicate existing stigmas and promoting changes in workplace infrastructure to support all employees. By flattening obstacles, allowing flexibility and highlighting the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce, we can create a fairer recruitment process and more job opportunities for all.
Prosper explored the current disability pay gap for employees; in the UK it stands at 15.5%, this is according to research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The Disability employment and pay gap 2019 report, which based its findings on 3,933,503 disabled men and women in employment in the UK, also found that these employees earn on average £1.65 per hour less than non-disabled peers, which is a gap of around £3,000 per year, based on a 35-hour week. On average, the report found that disabled employees are paid £10.63 per hour, while their non-disabled counterparts earn £12.28.
According to an analysis by the TUC, the 4th November is the day of the year at which disabled employees cease being paid, due to the disparity. Furthermore, the TUC's analysis also found that around half (52%) of disabled people are in employment, compared to more than four-fifths (81.6%) of non-disabled people.
The areas of the UK where the disability pay gap is at its highest are the East of England (21.8%), Wales (17.7%), Yorkshire (15.4%) and the West Midlands (15.3%). The lowest disability pay gap is present in the South West, where it stands at 8.5%.
Prosper spoke to Walsall based employability skills specialists, Steps To Work, a company who since 1999 have helped over 35,000 people from across the region into work; Managing Director, Bhanu Dhir, said, "As an organisation that provides employment support services for those with disabilities, we understand through first-hand experience the systemic barriers that are often in place which can prevent workforce participation for such individuals.
“As recent research undertaken by Accenture indicates, organisations that recruit and champion disabled talent enjoy 28% higher revenues than those that do not, yet only just over half are actively seeking and welcoming candidates with disabilities. These statistics emphasise that more work needs to be done to inform recruiters as to the tangible benefits of tapping into diverse pools of talent, with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic likely to further exacerbate the need to champion social inclusion for such groups.
“Whilst recruiters are strategically positioned to leverage their expertise, it will also be important for them to maintain an open dialogue with organisations that provide support services to those with disabilities, thereby ensuring hiring and onboarding processes are conducive towards the promotion of truly inclusive and diverse workforces.”