Finding disability-friendly employers

Researching employers is a great way to help find out which company would be a good fit for you to work in. Finding supportive environments through targeted research can provide a good demonstrator of employers’ attitude to their employees in general and their corporate social responsibility aims.

Employer directories and reviews

There are a few employer rating sites around that can help inform you about the company culture.

TARGETjobs’ Inside Buzz  covers a limited number of employers but each has a rating based on answers to “How would you describe your firm’s commitment to diversity?”

Glassdoor  and The JobCrowd  are other such sites. These don’t have a specific rating for diversity information but sometimes equal opportunities issues are discussed in the reviews themselves.

Disability-specific resources

Our sponsor EmployAbility has worked with many leading blue-chip as well as public sector organisations, and match talented students and graduates to these prestigious disability-inclusive employers.

Great with disability has detailed information on how its listed employers approach disability along with case studies from disabled employees

Business Disability Forum’s list of disability-smart organisations can be downloaded from their website

Even Break advertises vacancies from employers who value diversity and are serious about looking beyond candidates’ impairments to identify what skills they have to offer.

The Employers’ own content

A clear way to see if an employer is disability friendly is if they use the “two ticks” symbol on their website and other materials to show they’re “positive about disabled people”. To get permission to use the symbol the employer needs to fulfill five commitments including guaranteeing an interview for any disabled applicant who meets the minimum criteria for the job.

Employers who are positive about mental health may also participate in the Mindful Employer charter. This isn’t accredited like the “two ticks” symbol so employers may claim more than they can prove but it is a pledge showing commitment to being positive about mental health so is useful in showing commitment to working towards best practice for their disabled employees.

Websites, recruitment publications and annual reports can also tell you a lot about employer attitudes. When doing your research, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they have specific information on diversity / disabilities in their recruitment information online?
  • Do they include any disabled staff in their employee profiles?
  • What do they say about diversity and inclusion?
  • Do they have a named contact in their HR Department for queries around disabilities / disclosure?
  • Are there networking groups for disabled staff?
  • What kind of language do they use when writing about disability?

Sometimes the messages can be subtle but it all adds up to creating an image of the employer. Being able to speak to individuals you find through employee profiles or named HR contacts will give you an even clearer picture.

Further Reading

The “Disability and Mental Health: Diversity Matters” section of the TARGETjobs website provides further useful tips on this topic…

LGBT inclusion in the Global Workplace

As businesses compete for talent, expand into new markets and accelerate innovation, diversity and inclusiveness is a source of competitive advantage.

Research shows that when organizations take steps to create a supportive work environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, they achieve better business results.

To further explore this topic, EY will be hosting a webcast about the potential they hope to achieve as an organisation through LGBT inclusion at work and the practical steps that global companies more generally are taking to “make it real.”

This hour long discussion will take place on Thursday, 7 May 2015
at 11:00 a.m. For more information and to register, please visit the EY website

Enterprise: Is it different for girls?

An interesting post from our enterprise colleagues

Women-led enterprises contribute around £70 billion to the economy, but women are half as likely as men to be entrepreneurs. Last month, the Burt Report Inclusive Support for Women in Enterprise was published, outlining ways in which government can support women into business. Why is enterprise different for girls?

The Statistics

  • 19% of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are majority-led by women (either run by a woman or have a management team that is over 50% women).
  • 49% of SMEs are entirely led by men.
  • In 2012 6.3% of working age women involved in entrepreneurial activity compared with 11.6% of men.
  • Despite the increase in self-employment among women (last year 70% of new self-employed were women) women’s businesses are likely to get less support and are less likely to survive.

Different motivation for starting a business

Women express different motivations to starting a business than men. According to research, women are attracted to starting a business that will fit around their family commitments. Men are more likely to be motivated by money and look for self-employment opportunities when they are made redundant. Women, and younger women in particular, are more likely to start a social enterprise.

Different Types of Business

Businesses led by women on average are likely to be smaller and be in specific sectors; generally women-led businesses are overrepresented in the service sector. The BIS Small Business Survey in 2012 found that women tend to stick with what they are familiar with and start businesses in sectors they had already worked or studied in. There is also a trend for women to transition a hobby to a business. Interestingly, women’s businesses may have greater job-creation potential than men’s because they tend to be more labour-intensive.

What are the barriers?

The Women’s Business Council, set up to advise government on how women’s contribution to growth can be optimised, identified three main barriers for women starting a business.

  • Finance Women perceive access to finance as a barrier to starting and are less likely to use external finance However, those that did apply were more successful in getting funding than male led SMEs. Women may be more averse to getting in to debt than men. In business performance, there is no difference between women and men, but women-led enterprises generally start with lower levels of resources.
  • Lack of skills Women are less likely than men to think they have the skills needed to start a business. Research in 2011 showed 45% of men believed they had the skills they needed to start their own business compared with 29% of women.
  • Fear of failure Women are more likely to be put off starting up their own enterprise because they are afraid of failure.


 Why should more women be supported into business?

Aside from the financial contribution to the economy, the EY Report, Time for Diversity recognised the different skills that women bring to the workplace. Women have strong listening skills, greater levels of empathy and patience and are willing to understand the perspectives of others when making decisions. They are also more inclined to take a longer-term view of the business and be interested in issues such as sustainability and developing talent.

What support is available?

There is an array of support available to support women into business from networks, government advice and organisations to online resources. Here are a few. this is a huge online resource which includes links to information on skills, finance, funding and networks and includes a section specifically aimed at women entrepreneurs. My Business Support Tool is an online tool providing tailored information on sources of funding and guidance for wherever you are in your business cycle. This is a British Library IP and Business Centre partner providing training, resources and support services for women in business A community for women who want to start a business, or grow an existing business


Mentors can be invaluable guides and a source of useful contacts. There are many mentorship programmes that women entrepreneurs can access across the UK. List of business mentoring organisations across Britain. Support for anyone starting or running a social enterprise. Mentoring for entrepreneurs aged 50+. Find a mentor using this web-based networking community.

Networks East London Creative Business Women’s Network

All the Techie ladies

Here is a good news story, it shows that positive change is possible and it needn’t even take that long. Technology has long been a male dominated environment, but they have also been an industry that has been one of the most proactive in taking action to remedy the dire previous gender split, and are now reaping the benefits. It is also worth celebrating, as this progressive industry is also a fast growing sector which means the changes are here to stay and likely to benefit a wider number of people as time goes on

Keep up the good work IT world, we salute you (virtually of course)

International Women’s Day

Did you know International Women’s Day was yesterday? Well there were a number of interesting and engaging events taking place, highlighting serious issues affecting women across the world.

This was to encourage men to consider the world through new eyes, whilst challenging the norm.

It was a good opportunity to highlight serious issues affecting women across the world

It seems everyone had something to say…even Glamour magazine

In order for positive affirmation to have widespread support we need to be the change we want to see. This means challenging a stereotype, a way of working, a jokey comment that is never just a joke, pushing the glass ceiling, challenging unfair pay. This is something that both genders can do. As Professor Michael Luck, Dean of Natural and Mathematical Sciences said when asked yesterday why he was chairing an International Women’s Day panel, ‘this is not a women’s issue, there is a cultural shift that requires all of us be involved and support it’. From mentoring, to supporting careers breaks to raise a family, to flexible working, there are a number of things both genders can do to adopt a positive mindset and move things forward.

Ticking the Diversity box

Our last post focussed on the lack of diversity seen during awards season, and this is really a follow on from that, looking at current media and the small screen and whether the shows we are presented with represent the diverse societies in which we live.

Channel 4, in particular, have launched a Diversity Charter to ensure their leading roles reflect new diversity targets and represent a wider breadth of differences including; ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability.

But does a tick box approach work, particularly when it is linked to pay? Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham said the targets, backed by a new £5m investment, had legal backing – “It is positive action, not positive discrimination”.

And whilst there may be disagreements about a target heavy approach to representing diversity , Channel 4 have, at the very least, thrust the issue into the spotlight. With the BBC and Sky pledging their own initiatives to tackle the lack of diversity on (and behind) our screens we are already starting to see the inclusion of fresh new shows ‘ticking the box’.

These following Channel 4 shows have all ‘ticked the box’;

Yes – Cucumber: Drama exploring the heartbreak and joy of modern gay life

banana and cucumber--(None)_A2

Yes – The Last Leg: Comedy series Celebrating inclusivity, equality and diversity

Last leg

Yes – Indian Summers:  Epic drama where India dreams of independence, but the British are clinging to power

Indian Summers

For further information take a look at The Independent’s article.

Increased job opportunities for marginalised groups are one outcome of these initiatives – but more diversity on our screens could have a wider impact – filtering through into an increasingly diverse workforce across sectors. Watch this space (literally!).

Image Copyright: Fair Use

Awards Season and Diversity


Hollywood sign by Florian Klauer - public domain

Awards season is upon us with all its glitz and glamour.

But amongst the sequins, plunging necklines and star studded selfies, has emerged a more serious issue; that of the lack of diversity in British filmmaking.

In an article for the Independent, Chris Bryant, shadow minister for the arts described the almost complete absence of black actors and directors at the top of the industry as an ‘insulting throwback to a bygone era’.

Worryingly, according to the Taking Part survey, there is a 10% gap between white, and black and ethnic minority participation in the arts , which shows an under-representation in this industry more widely.

Does this impact you as students or recent graduates looking to break into the creative fields?

Be sure to take a look at our events calendar available via the Reach website as we often advertise schemes, internships and events that can help you with your initial steps.

Stonewall Top 100 Employers

Stonewall top 100 employers logo
Stonewall has released the 2015 version of its Workplace Equality Index which identifies Britain’s most gay friendly employers. This year they have also introduced “additional criteria to assess organisations’ commitment to lesbian, gay and bisexual staff globally” with 10 companies achieving “Top Global Employers for 2015” status.You can find the list and report on Stonewall’s website and lesbian, gay, and
bisexual jobseekers might also find their Starting Out Guide helpful which is available online as well as hard copies in your careers service.Find more resources for LGBT jobseekers on Careers Tagged.

Disclosing criminal convictions to employers: Things you need to know

Have you received a criminal conviction or reprimand and are worried about how this could affect your employability? We’ve put together a short guide on what employers may require you to declare and what background checks they may run as part of their selection process.

Please note this is a general guideline only that is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need further information on a specific issue please follow the links at the bottom of the page.

Spent and Unspent Convictions

In accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 criminal convictions become spent after a certain period and it is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of a spent conviction unless they are exempt from the Act (see below). Assuming the employer is not exempt, spent convictions do not need to be declared during the application process.

For specific information on how long it takes before varying convictions/fine’s/bind-overs become spent take a look at the Nacro website: It’s worth noting that convictions resulting in a prison sentence of 4 years or more never become spent.

Exemptions from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

Certain jobs are exempt from the Act, meaning regardless of whether a conviction is spent or unspent it must be declared during the selection process. These include:

  • Jobs involving national security vetting
  • Jobs in law enforcement
  • Certain jobs in the security sector
  • Jobs in healthcare and the NHS
  • Jobs in Law
  • Certain jobs that involve working with children, vulnerable adults or the elderly
  • Senior positions in banking and finance

An employer should clearly state whether they are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act early in the application process.

Disclosure and Barring Service Checks

Some employers will require you to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check once you’ve commenced employment. This generally will only be required for jobs that involve working with children (18 years of age or younger) or vulnerable adults (the elderly, people with disabilities or people under the care of the employee).

The DBS is an executive agency within the Home Office that relays criminal information from the Police to employers. In order for an employer to request a DBS check they are legally obliged to ensure the candidates role meets certain criteria, such as working with children unsupervised, and that the level of DBS check is appropriate.

More information on DBS checks can be found here:

National Security Vetting

Certain jobs require candidates to undergo a process of security vetting. These jobs are generally ones in which employees have access to sensitive information pertaining to law enforcement or national security and include:

  • Jobs within the Police
  • Certain jobs within the armed forces
  • Certain jobs within the private defence sector
  • Certain jobs within the Civil Service
  • Jobs involving access to nuclear material

Regardless of the level of security clearance candidates are required to apply for during the selection process, all criminal convictions, cautions, arrests or non-convictions should be declared (this includes penalties arising from traffic offences). With these type of disclosures, when in doubt declare! Failing to declare even a minor reprimand can be construed as dishonesty which is treated severely within these types of selection processes.

Subject Access Requests

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to access information held on you by organisations

If you have received a penalty from the police for an offence but have forgotten what or when exactly it was, you can make a Subject Access Request to the police force that issued the penalty. Once you’ve submitted the request you will receive information that is held on you on the Police National Computer, including arrests and non-convictions. The police can deny you this information in certain circumstances.

For more information on Subject Access Requests see here:

Useful Links

Disclosure and Barring Service:
Defence Business Services National Security Vetting:
Subject Access Requests:
Citizens Advice Bureau: