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Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

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1 Disability

ACAS (no date) explains:

Unless their condition or impairment is automatically classed as a disability or they have a progressive condition, the Equality Act 2010 says someone is considered to have a disability if both of these apply:

  • they have a ‘physical or mental impairment’
  • the impairment ‘has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’
A photograph of a person sat at a table reading a book using braille.

A significant number of people with disabilities are keen to work but remain unemployed. The UN’s Disability and Development report (UN, 2018) notes that ‘lower rates of employment have been persistently observed for persons with disabilities.’ Across eight global regions, the employment to population ratio for people with disabilities averages 36%, compared with 60% for people without disabilities.

Aichner (2021) explains that the problem is often the negative view of employers who assume that people with disabilities are not able to perform as efficiently, or are a burden rather than a source of added value. On the contrary, Aichner’s research summarises the characteristics and associated benefits as follows:

Table 1
Characteristics of people with disabilities Advantages of hiring people with disabilities
Higher motivation to work Lower absenteeism rates
Very loyal towards their employer Lower employee turnover
Friendlier dealings with customers Higher ROI in training and development
Score higher in job satisfaction Overall more positive work environment
Perform more consistently Increased productivity
Better able to identify creative solutions Higher levels of innovation
Higher willingness to experiment Increased business performance, market share and shareholder value
Superior problem-solving skills

As you learn about each diversity characteristic in more detail – you’ll see two main sections – ‘exploring discrimination’ is intended to introduce some of the common issues and ‘enhancing your awareness’ aims to introduce ideas that you may be less familiar with.