Disabled workers: a level playing field? Far from it.

Disabled. Disability. As a recruiter, these words can give you a sinking feeling. Not because we have any problem with a diverse workforce – quite the contrary – but because, after seven years of recruiting for the professional services sector, I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve helped to find a job with a registered disability. And my experience isn’t an unusual one.

Recruitment professionals are solely focused on finding the best person for the job – regardless of race, gender, age, or disability. We don’t see any of those factors as barriers to entry. And there have been huge steps forward in many areas of diversity. But too few organisations get diversity ‘right’ when it comes to disabled candidates. This is particularly worrying when we consider just how many people are affected by a disability, and how their opportunities are capped as a result:

● 16% of working age adults have a disability in the UK (8.48mil)
● 14.9% of working age adults with a disability have a degree (1.26mil)
● 47% of disabled graduates went into the professional services industry after University, compared to 68% of graduates without a disability

Let’s be frank: disability is the last taboo of diversity. It is an area that requires education, training, and a shift in mind-set. It requires us to view these candidates as an area of untapped talent, rather than as a cost or a problem. Over 40,000 people with a disability are graduating from university each year, and not going into highly skilled roles; with over 1,900 graduate jobs unfilled by the Times’ Top 100 Companies last year, there is simply no need for this. The disabled graduates we meet are capable, hard-working, and shamefully under-represented in the jobs market. And we want to do something about it.

Badenoch & Clark disabled recruitment division

We want to make a commitment to positively impact this area of diversity in 2017. Our first step is the creation of a dedicated disability consulting business. As one of the most established recruiters in London, we are in the unique position of being able to advise our clients on how they can work to become more inclusive in their recruitment practices: providing a suite of advisory products that will help to create a level playing field for anyone with a disability who’s looking to start a career within the professional services domain. We will also be working with universities and schools to advise disabled students on how to interview confidently; to not be afraid to disclose a disability on their CV.

This isn’t a quick fix, but a long-term project where we hope to make a fundamental difference to hiring processes within professional services.

Get in touch

If you are an employer who is committed to diversity and would like to learn more about how we can help, please get in touch. Alternatively, if you have had a bad experience of the recruitment process we would love to hear from you, and to help you find your next career opportunity.

By Will Petch, Executive Lead Consultant


  • Clodagh Corbett's gravatar

    One of the key barriers as a deaf person is the first reach out to your CV -'Please call....' or telephone interviews. Often online application forms won't let you submit without a valid phone number so you have to put your number down without the ability to add 'Text or email only please'. So frustrating.

    07/07/2017 15:47
  • Mark's gravatar

    these words can give you a sinking feeling

    06/04/2017 08:13
  • ALEN MARK's gravatar

    Thanks, It helps

    17/03/2017 06:56
  • Elliot Smith's gravatar

    I applaud your move. As a self-employed worker with decent job experience and epilepsy, the latter has often been a problem in the minds of employers, even when simple adjustments in the workplace resolve almost any issues that would inhibit my productivity.

    16/03/2017 21:16
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