Having a disability presents a lot of challenges for those who suffer with one, but bias in the workplace should not be one of them.

Badenoch & Clark, a recruitment organisation in the UK, found in a new survey that three in five disabled employees have experienced this bias, a result that has taken its toll on workers. Almost half of the respondents (48%) admitted that they’d left a job or refrained from applying for a role or promotion simply because of such bias. This doesn’t bode well for the progress of equality in the workplace which is already failing when it comes to gender.

These results are vastly different from those by non-disabled individuals, with only 35% of them having experienced bias in the workplace and 20% having held off from employment opportunities because of that.

Nicola Linkleter who works as the President of Professional Staffing at Badenoch & Clark was shocked by the results and commented that:

“Organisations need to realise that poor inclusion practices are bad for business […] In the UK today, 16% of working age adults have a disability, 15% of which have a degree. With skills shortages an undeniable threat, employers need to start viewing candidates with disabilities as untapped talent.”

The survey also found that 51% of people had actively tried to hide their physical disability from potential employers when going for a job, while 60% had done the same with their mental disability. It’s concerning how many people fear their disability will affect their chance of being hired, especially when workplaces are supposed to now be more proactive in making the office a welcoming place for everyone, but as with other issues of equality, the UK obviously still has a long way to go.

Linketer concluded her comments by saying:

“We’d like to see more employers taking the initiative to remove barriers to disability in the workplace, developing attraction and retention strategies that capture an underrepresented talent pool, and working with universities and recruitment consultancies to advise disabled students on how to interview confidently.

“Each worker that has experienced bias is one too many, and employees will only ever flourish if they feel they can truly be themselves at work. Businesses need to commit to living and breathing diversity and inclusion throughout the entire employee lifecycle and in everything they do – every strategy, every hire, every decision. Ultimately, they should become inclusive by instinct.”

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.
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