Access to employment: A guide to achieving a more inclusive working environment

Posted On: 
3rd December 2019

On International Day of People with Disabilities, the Chartered Insurance Institute sets out how workplaces can be more inclusive. 

Businesses become more successful, more productive and overall healthier places to work when there are positive cultural norms in place, writes CII.
Credit: 
PA Images

Today marks the International Day of People with Disabilities, and whilst it should be a day of celebration, it is also of note that this year it is held the day after we see shocking ONS figures showing a 12.2% disability pay gap across the UK.

Therefore, it is only right that as the professional body for insurance and personal finance, we reaffirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and work towards creating a better, more equitable world for people with disabilities. It is in this vain, we launch our good practice guide, undertaken with colleagues at Scope – the disability equality charity – setting out practical steps’ firms can take to achieve a more inclusive working environment for people across our profession.

As part of the government sponsored Access to Insurance Working Group, we believe in working together to secure access to all forms of insurance and protection products, and to opening ourselves up as a career destination for people with disabilities. So, whilst this guidance was written to help with access to employment principles, we believe action in this space will also lead to better service access and outcomes for customers too.

The guide outlines what is legally expected of companies; provides insight into how basic changes to HR systems can transform the recruitment process for candidates with disabilities; what group risk products are available to protect employees and employers; and how the DWP Disability Confident scheme can help support and increase the profile of an organisation’s work in this area.

We also want to reassure you not all change needs to be drastic or expensive, as long as the needs and situation of employees or customers are considered at all levels of an organisation.

Undoubtedly, businesses become more successful, more productive and overall healthier places to work when there are positive cultural norms in place. However, in the long run, these changes are not optional, and businesses cannot survive if they ignore sections of society, whether it’s in their employment practices, or within their potential customer pool.

Therefore, as part of this launch, we wanted to make five simple calls to action for insurance and personal finance organisations.

Firstly, sign up to the DWP disability confident scheme.

Secondly, help raise awareness of disabilities, seen and unseen, to remove barriers – for example sharing the CII animation on invisible illness could help educate people on the different forms they can take.

Thirdly, organisations can implement the suggestions outlined in our report (if you haven’t done so already).

Fourthly, ensure to collect disability data and report this information publicly, perhaps even in the career’s sections of your website.

And finally, celebrate achievements and progress made in supporting employees with disability.

We find ourselves launching this guidance during a UK General election and it would be remiss of us to not use this opportunity to push for greater support of increasing access to employment for people with disabilities, throughout society.

We want to help remove the barriers and stigma faced by people with disabilities, and this requires support from political parties, in addition to businesses and people across the profession. Allow us to make this election, and the new Parliament subsequently formed, have fostering diversity and inclusion in all corners of society a priority above all else.

All of this would not have been possible without the support of Johnny Timpson, Disability Champion for Insurance at the Cabinet Office and Chair of the Access to Insurance Working Group. His message on the importance of the guide is:

The strength of the UK the insurance market for generations rooted in firms large and small being reflective of and recruiting from the communities we serve. This will be even more essential for our industry and profession in the years ahead, as 17.2% of our UK adult population under 60 today have a disability, and the prevalence of depression and mental health conditions within this group have increased by 61% since 2013. So as the Cabinet Office Disability and Access Champion for the Insurance industry and profession, I fully share and support the Charted Insurance Institute’s commitment that the insurance industry and profession is a career destination of choice for ALL, and especially for people with disabilities seen and/or unseen.

Ultimately, we must walk the talk on inclusion and diversity, so work with us and let’s transform society together.

Read the full guide HERE.