Recruitment firms must take the lead in recognising disabled talent says APSCo
That’s according to The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) which has launched the very first best practice guide to disability confidence for recruitment firms.
Speaking at the launch Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, said, “We want the role of the recruitment profession to be that of a catalyst for change in creating a level of confidence when it comes to the recruitment of disabled talent. Our clients are looking for a broader client base – and UK plc is talent short - and yet so many organisations – because they are time short and under pressure – look at recruiting the same old people from the same old places.”
The guide, developed in conjunction with Business Disability Forum (BDF) and sponsored by EY, who also hosted the launch, provides practical tips and expert advice on how recruiters can best engage with disabled talent.
Susan Scott-Parker OBE, founder and honorary vice president of BDF, stated, “It’s the same as hiring Canadian people – some of them can do the job! Disabled people are often excluded from employment not because organisations don’t want to recruit and develop disabled talent, but because recruitment processes, partners and suppliers inadvertently place barriers in the way. From talent attraction strategies that give disabled talent the perceived view that & lsquo;we’re not interested in you’ to online application processes that limit people with certain impairments – business misses out on hiring the best talent and disabled people simply miss out!”
Speaking at the launch, Peter Holliday, managing director of Sopra Steria Recruitment, which has recently joined BDF, outlined his motivations. “This isn’t just the right thing to do – being equal, fair and accessible should be a given – but it’s also a real business opportunity for organisations. I found that several of my clients were already members of BDF and were recognising disabled people as an untapped talent pool - and as recruiters, we should be leading – not following.”
Iain Wilkie, senior partner at EY and executive champion for disability at the firm, outlined some of the enormous business benefits of hiring disabled talent by highlighting the qualities that may not immediately spring to mind. He said, “People with autism are strong at problem solving – just one of the reasons that GCHQ is keen to recruit them. Those with mobility issues are often good at coming up with creative solutions,many people with hearing impediments develop an invaluable ability to read body language while stammerers are often recognised as great listeners. Why wouldn’t you want people with these skills in your business?”