A survey by the Clear Company titled ‘Actions speak louder than words’ into candidate, recruiter and employer experiences of hiring disabled people, has been commissioned by leading employers’ working group the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI).

The survey showed that a broad gap still exists between the intentions of the recruitment industry and the experience of disabled candidates with 82% reporting a poor experience due to lack of recruiter knowledge.


The survey, sponsored by Equal Approach and DWF LLP, went on to show that 50% felt that recruitment agency staff did not understand their needs and 61% said that they felt their negative experience was due to the recruiter’s lack of ‘disability confidence’.

The survey findings recognise best practice in the recruitment industry and demonstrate that taking action to removing barriers from the recruitment process is a goal all employers can strive for and achieve. The results were launched at the inaugural RIDI awards ceremony, championing good practice in the recruitment industry. Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, was in attendance and presented the award for overall disability confidence to the Civil Service.

Dan Biddle, himself disabled following the London 7/7 bombings and member of the RIDI judging panel said:

“This year’s survey offers recruiters some valuable insights into what still needs to be tackled. The good news is that 74% of recruiters reported they are confident they have the knowledge to support disabled candidates appropriately; but this research shows that disabled job seekers want to see real evidence that actions have been taken by recruiters to deliver a first class candidate experience, including providing reasonable adjustments, for disabled people.”

In 2013 RIDI launched the first ever industry-backed ‘disability confident awards’ programme to improve industry practice for disabled job-seekers and demonstrate that actions taken by recruiters speak louder than words. Winners across 14 categories for 2014 were announced at the recent awards ceremony at Eversheds in central London. The full list of winners is as follows:

Most Progress (Large Employer) – E.ON

Most Progress (Small Employer) – Sky Blue

Most Progress (Suppler) – Oasis HR

Overall Candidate Experience – HMRC

Employers Choice – BBC

Agency Choice – Remploy

Individual Choice – Handsfree Computing

Disability Confident – Civil Service

Reasonable Adjustments – E.ON

Technology for Inclusion – Diversity Jobs

Extending the Reach sponsored by Able Magazine – Sainsbury’s

Inclusive Partnerships – Eversheds & Guidant Group

Training & Development – CEB

Maximising Potential – Handsfree Computing

Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Disabled People added:

“I’m really pleased we’ve had this chance to recognise the efforts employers and their talent providers are making to improve opportunities for disabled people. It’s clear there is still some way to go, but I’d like to offer my personal congratulations to the winners for showing that their actions get more disabled people into work. Employers and their talent providers all need to work together to ensure they follow these examples to be more inclusive not just in what they say, but in what they do. Actions do speak louder than words.”

Kate Headley, Development Director of Clear Company and Chair of the RIDI Awards Judging Panel said, “Congratulations to all of the RIDI Award winners. The vast number of submissions the Judging Panel received is evidence that our industry is starting to take some good steps in the right direction.

“The RIDI Awards and these survey results demonstrate that employer-led action on improving recruitment for disabled people works and it’s gaining momentum. We need more employers and more recruiters to get on board and work towards a better experience and better opportunities for disabled candidates”

Janice Henson, Director of Placeability, who presented the Training and Development award to CEB SHL, said:

“Going beyond good intentions is the key to creating real opportunity for disabled talent. CEB SHL has invested in training of its recruiters to ensure they understand disability and the impact it can have on someone’s ability to do well in a recruitment process. Simple steps to improve awareness means that disabled people have an equal opportunity to perform at their best.”

Encouragingly the recruitment survey showed that recruiters using the ClearAssured assessment and development programme, adopted by RIDI as the framework for measuring progress, demonstrate that taking action on disability leads to greater numbers of disabled people in work:

  • 83% of Clear Assured recruiters report greater disability confidence compared with 50% of ‘other’ recruiters
  • 35% of ClearAssured recruiters reported that 10% of their candidates were disabled, compared to 6% of ‘other’ recruiters.
  • 41% of ClearAssured recruiters placed over 5% of disabled candidates into work compared to 26% of ‘other’ recruiters.