“City should be hiring disabled people”

Oscar Pistorius
Photo from Telegraph 05/03/12 of Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius

A report in the Telegraph yesterday suggested that city bosses should be held accountable for the number of disabled people they employ in the same way that they are held accountable for financial performance. These are the views of Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He has publically called for the banking sector and the City to transform their approach to hiring disabled people. It’s a sector he is familiar with having worked in the City as a partner with Goldman Sachs.

He feels that traditional recruitment processes are not enough and that the authentic business case is not always felt to be powerful enough. He suggests that ultimate responsibility for this comes from the top. He is quoted as saying, ” it takes faith to get there and it is totally down to leadership. It is down to the guy at the top and he should be held accountable for it just as much as he is for his revenue targets.”

I have to agree with him (despite his assumption that the person at the top is always a “he” – almost always the case in these particular institutions!). More disabled staff will raise the internal intelligence of the organisation on disability issues, and people who are comfortable and confident in working with disabled colleagues will be equally confident in working with disabled customers.

Locog, who are responsible for recruitment for staff around the Olympics, have specifically trawled for disabled candidates rather than relying on traditional recruitment processes to find them, and last month 12.5% of the staff they hired declared a disability. If Locog can achieve that, so should other employers in the City.

I look forward to seeing how this develops, and very much hope that the seeds have been sewn for financial institutions in the city to finally accept the importance of a diverse workforce, particularly in relation to disability.

In its first year, Evenbreak has attracted companies like Ernst and Young (who are very forward-thinking in this area, this year reaching the coveted number oneposition in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index) who immediately saw the value in using a specialist job board to go that extra distance to re-assure dissabled candidates that they woud be very much valued. Let’s hope many other City finance companies follow suit and a significantly higher number of disabled staff are appointed in the future. Evenbreak would be very happy to help them.



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