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The barrier we must knock down to achieve a more inclusive workforce.

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Recruiting people living with a disability can be a tricky topic, but it is one that needs to be discussed if we are to achieve true inclusivity in the workforce.


The truth is, there is still a lot of apprehension around hiring people with disabilities, and much of it is still rooted in misunderstanding.

A lot of it comes from not knowing. If you haven’t been around people with disabilities there can be many unknowns, and often it’s in our nature to shy away from the unfamiliar.

So unfortunately, when someone discloses during the recruitment process that they are living with a disability, they’re often pushed down the shortlist – sometimes without recruiters or hiring managers even knowing it.

Some employers worry they could be accused of discrimination if they need to make a big business decision and let go of someone living with a disability. Or they aren’t sure how to meet their accessibility needs in the workplace.

Sadly, it’s these types of thought patterns that can prevent people with disability from even making it to the interview stage.

What’s needed is a concerted effort to focus on what candidates can do rather than what they can’t do, and it requires a conscious thought to change.

Quite simply, we need to break down the barriers so those doing the hiring understand that just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t make them different to any other candidate. Everyone is employed for their capacity to do a job and perform, and that’s what candidates should be judged on.

The truth is, people living with a disability often work harder to prove themselves and show they are more than capable. They absolutely shouldn’t have to, but they do, because all too often they’re underestimated.

It may sound cliché, but many employers are failing to see the ability in disability.

While the dial has shifted, it hasn’t moved enough.

Many of us are not considering the talent pool, experience and capabilities of those living with disability. Sure, there are organisations out there advocating and putting these talented individuals at the forefront of their consideration, but they are still a small minority.

At Talent Quarter, we are passionate about providing inclusive workplaces for all.

We have team members living with a disability and practice an all-inclusive approach to recruitment for our clients.

Our Managing Director, Sue Healy, is a board member of The Field, a website that welcomes job seekers with visible and non-visible disability, mental ill-health, neurodiversity, chronic illness, intellectual disability or with any workplace accessibility requirements.

The Field was created to help people with a disability who want to work with organisations that hire more inclusively. Led and driven by people with a disability, it’s an incredible platform that helps companies get more diverse talent. There is also a host of helpful information on the site, including tips about how to make your workplace more disability inclusive.

Ensuring you have an inclusive workplace where people with a disability can thrive is one step. Another is to communicate that this is the case, particularly when you advertise a position. Jobs posted on The Field, for example, have a list of accessibility features, which can go a long way in encouraging someone with a disability to apply.

I think, as an industry, we could all learn a lot from the steps undertaken by The Field and make a collective effort to change the way we advertise jobs, interview and consider our shortlists.

Lives are defined by opportunities. Unfortunately, getting them can be difficult when you are living with a disability.


We all have an important role to play in opening the door

to opportunity so those candidates with a disability come knocking,

rather than having to continually knock down barriers.


Kate Healy-Smith

Chief Operating Officer, Talent Quarter Group