Why should I recruit a disabled person?

There are over 14 million disabled people in the UK, with nearly 4 million of those already in employment. If your business isn’t willing to accommodate and support disabled employees, you are losing out on many exceptional candidates who could bring new skills and ideas to your business. By only hiring non-disabled people, you are reducing your potential candidates by a fifth!

As well as this, disabled people have had to face many challenges in their lives. We live in a world which is not always accommodating to the needs of disabled people, meaning they may have had to fight harder to live, work, and socialise happily and comfortably. Because of this, many disabled people have vast amounts of resilience and perseverance, which are invaluable qualities to have in an employee in your workplace.

Finally, by employing a disabled candidate, you are contributing to the elimination of discrimination in the workplace. Despite the 2010 Equality Act declaring it against the law to discriminate against somebody because of a disability, a disabled person still has 35% less chance of being hired than their non-disabled counterpart.

Will hiring a disabled person cost me a lot of money?

The short answer is absolutely not! There are hundreds of different disabilities, many of which do not require additional needs in a workplace environment, making them no more expensive than a non-disabled employee. For people who do need extra support to be able to work, such as technology or special travel arrangements, the government provide funding to cover the costs. The Access to Work scheme offers up to a maximum of £60,000 a year to employers. To be eligible for this grant, you must be over 16, work in the UK and have a long-term health condition or disability, which negatively affects your ability to do your job.

For more information about funding for disabled employees, visit our dedicated page.

How can I encourage disabled candidates to apply to my jobs?

A great place to start is by ensuring you are part of the government Disability Confident scheme. This indicates to potential employees that you are open to hiring disabled people, and you feel confident supporting them throughout the job. Find out more about the Disability Confident scheme on the government website.

Another way to encourage disabled candidates is to show you are committed to accessibility by providing accessible job advertisements and interviews. Use fonts, colours and text sizing accessible to the visually impaired, and if you produce any physical documents, consider providing brail accompaniments. On your job advertisement indicate you are happy to offer alternative interviews to people who might struggle to show their skills in a traditional formal interview. This may be applicable to people with autism or learning difficulties.

You may also want to advertise your job on websites that attract a lot of disabled people. There are lots of charities committed to helping disabled people into work, and they often have a jobs section on their websites. For example, the charities Scope and Disability Rights UK advertise jobs from disability-friendly employers.

Will I have to change my office completely?

Most likely not. If you have ramps and lifts for wheelchair access, most disabled people will be able to access your workspace. Any changes you may need to make will likely be small and reasonable, and according to government advice, can be done with minimal cost and effort. Suppose you do make some changes to your office, such as more expansive spaces between desks to accommodate people with mobility issues or installing assistive technology onto all computers. In this case, you are already encouraging the future potential of a diverse workforce.

For more information, have a read of our page on How to be a disability-friendly employer.