One year on from my post looking at the Disability Confident scheme and it is great to see that since this time last year, 4000 more employers have signed up.
Disability Confident employers should offer an interview to a disabled candidate who meets the minimum criteria for the job role that they are applying for.
If I apply to a Disability Confident employer, am I guaranteed an interview?
My impression is that if you are a disabled applicant applying for a job at a Disability Confident company and you meet the minimum criteria for that role, as defined by the employer, then it is likely that you will be offered an interview. It isn’t a certainty as employers:
a) pledge to the commitment that they will offer an interview. When you look at the scheme’s wording around offering interviews, it sometimes says employers ‘should’ rather than employers ‘must’
b) in certain circumstances, it may not always be possible to interview everyone who meets the minimum criteria e.g. due to a large number of applicants
When applying for a vacancy at a Disability Confident company, you would need to disclose at the application stage, otherwise the prospective employer would not know that you are disabled.
Who are these companies?
According to the latest figures (taken from the gov.uk website, last updated July 2019), there are 12200 Disability Confident employers across the UK, ranging across a number of sectors. These include large employers as well as SMEs. You can see who they all are by clicking on the link, above.
Employers in this scheme are all at one of three levels:
– Level 3: Disability Confident Leader (around 220 companies) – quite a lot of these are in the Voluntary sector or in the ‘Administration/Office including Public sector’ but there are ‘Leader’ companies in the Financial, Recruitment, Health, Retail, Transport, Sports, Education sectors too, as well as a few others
– Level 2: Disability Confident Employer (roughly 3250 companies)
– Level 1: Disability Confident Committed (about 8750 companies)
Those companies at Level 3 (Disability Confident Leader) might be particularly well placed in being knowledgeable about, and experienced in, the obstacles some disabled applicants and employees face (be that workplace adjustments or making the application process more accessible). That isn’t to say that companies at Level 1 or Level 2 might not be (just as) well placed.
Disability Confident employers self-assess, they are not audited by an official body as such, so like many recruitment initiatives and programmes, the success of the scheme relies on the employers sticking to the scheme’s commitments.
Employers may be committing to interview disabled applicants who hit the min. criteria because they are signed up to the scheme. Others won’t be.
Many companies have identified that they lack disabled staff and recognise that they are missing out on an enormous untapped talent pool of potential employees.
The ‘Guaranteed Interview Scheme’ (GIS) is used by some employers to attract disabled applicants. The commitment here is to offer an interview to any disabled applicant who indicates they are applying under that scheme and who meets the essential criteria.
Mindful Employer is a charter that some companies have signed up to. The charter centres around employers taking a proactive attitude towards supporting mental health in the workplace. Some of the values of the charter include employers being positive towards applicants/employees with mental health conditions and making the recruitment process fair.
Also, the Business Disability Forum’s Disability Standard has a a roll of honour which lists companies that are deemed to be ‘disability-smart’.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for these terms, sometimes displayed as logos, when job hunting.
Back to the Disability Confident scheme
The scheme aims to help employers employ and retain disabled people and those with health conditions.
The gov.uk website states that the scheme was developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives to ‘…make it rigorous but easily accessible – particularly for smaller businesses.’
Disability Confident is a voluntary scheme. Employers sign up, commit to core actions and they get access to guidance, self-assessments and resources; all of which are free.
If you are keen to know about the background of Disability Confident or to take a more in depth look at the scheme, click here: The Disability Confident scheme explained
Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, University of Westminster