By Daniel Hunter

Up to 37% of disabled jobseekers have been discriminated against during the recruitment process according to research commissioned by the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI).

In addition, 82% of disabled candidates have reported a negative experience with a recruitment consultancy, which they attribute to a lack of knowledge surrounding disability issues.

There is also a significant disparity between the perceptions of candidates and recruiters in terms of the provision of ‘reasonable adjustments’ made to accommodate disabled jobseekers — a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010.

Despite the fact that 82% of recruiters claim reasonable adjustments are made to cater for disabled jobseekers, 58% of those candidates say that no such adjustments were made.

Kate Headley, Director of Consulting at the Clear Company — a diversity consultancy which conducted the survey on behalf of RIDI, said: “It is evident that a lack of awareness and knowledge is continuing to have an adverse effect on the recruitment of disabled people. When around one in every 18 jobseekers has a disability this inevitably means that employers are missing out on a rich pool of talent. I know that many employers and recruiters are afraid of getting it wrong, but there are some inspiring instances of companies that are pioneering the inclusion of disabled people and we can certainly learn from their experiences.

The RIDI has launched its own awards, aptly named the "RIDI Awards", to celebrate the progress and success of companies that are "pioneering the inclusion of disabled people".

Ms Headley added: “[The awards] celebrate progress and recognise the success of these organisations. Last year the Awards attracted over 100 applications across award categories including Innovation in Assessment, Inclusive Partnerships, Employers Choice and Overall Candidate Experience. Previous winners include E:ON, the BBC, Sainsbury’s and Eversheds in partnership with Guidant Group, as well as many smaller employers and recruiters.

"This year, our objective is clear — to expand our reach and impact by encouraging a strong, pro-active approach to disability amongst even more employers and recruiters. Submissions opened on 30 January and I’d like to urge employers and recruiters to share their stories with us. It's hoped that this year’s winners will inspire other organisations to focus on their own strategies to boost the diversity of talent.”

In support of the RIDI awards, the Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP said: "For those disabled people wishing to enter the workforce or progress their careers the recruitment process itself can be a barrier. I am delighted to see that the recruitment industry is taking the lead on raising awareness of the barriers experienced by disabled people and is sharing best practice to start breaking them down.

"The RIDI Awards are not only about celebrating the progress being made on including disabled talent in the recruitment and employment process, they are also about sharing learning and setting out best practice so that other in-house recruiters or agencies will be inspired to do things differently.

"It is not acceptable that one in three disabled job seekers experience discrimination. The government's Disability Confident campaign is proud to support the RIDI Awards again this year and to be sponsoring the Disability Confident award. We need to take action together to break down barriers and build employer and candidate confidence.”

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