Could you give a disadvantaged person the opportunity to succeed?

Nearly 7 million working-age people in the UK are disabled or have a health condition. Working age people may also be 'disadvantaged' for a multitude of reasons. For example, they may be looking for work but living rurally without transport, no access to internet or device. caring for a relation and/or living in poverty.

There has been a significant gap between the proportion of disabled people employed compared with non-disabled people throughout history. However, we are hoping by raising awareness of the benefits of employing disadvantaged young people and how easy making reasonable adjustments can be, that this 'gap' will be significantly reduced.

Encouraging applications from disabled and/or disadvantaged people is good for business. It can help employers to:

  • increase the number of high quality applicants
  • create a workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers it serves and the community in which it is based
  • bring additional skills to the business, such as the ability to use British Sign Language (BSL), which could result in large savings

The costs of making reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled employees are often low.

Reasonable adjustments mean an employer is ensuring disabled people can overcome any substantial disadvantages they may have doing their jobs and progressing in work (Equality Act 2010). Examples include:

  • making changes to a disabled person’s working pattern
  • providing training or mentoring
  • making alterations to premises
  • ensuring that information is provided in accessible formats
  • modifying or acquiring equipment
  • allowing extra time during selection ‘tests’

You may be able to get help from Access to Work towards some costs where an individual requires support or adaptations. Find out more in the Employer’s guide to Access to Work.

Access to Work usually provides a grant to pay for the cost of the support. For example it can provide funds towards:

  • special aids and equipment
  • adaptations to equipment
  • travel to and from work
  • communication support at interview
  • a wide variety of support workers

Access to Work also has a Mental Health Support Service. This can offer support to individuals with a mental health condition who are absent from work or finding work difficult.

If you’re a business with 25 or fewer employees, you can get extra support through Jobcentre Plus to help you recruit and retain staff with a disability or health condition.

This support includes:

  • matching candidates to jobs
  • support through the interview process
  • advice on workplace adaptations, induction and mentoring
  • help arranging in-work support from local community specialists
  • help completing an Access to Work application

Contact Jobcentre Plus to speak to a Small Employer Adviser.


Tips when recruiting disabled and/or disadvantaged people:

1. Accessible job adverts

When writing job adverts:

  • use a font that is easy to read and large enough to read
  • make sure that they don’t exclude any section of the community
  • state clearly that you welcome applications from all sections of the community and that you have an equal opportunities policy
  • include in your person specification only the skills and experience which are vital to the job
  • do not set criteria which automatically exclude certain groups, for example stating that applicants must have a driving licence when there is no requirement for travel within the role
  • provide the contact details of someone in your organisation who can provide further information and discuss any reasonable adjustments that the applicant may need
  • offer alternative formats for applications, for example if the application is to be made online, provide a paper based form as an alternative

2. Accessible recruitment process

Under the Equality Act 2010 you must not ask about a job applicant’s health until you have offered them a job, except to:

  • find out whether they need any reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process
  • find out if they can carry out an essential function of the job
  • monitor whether applicants are disabled (this must be anonymous)

Ask applicants if they need an adjustment to the interview process to allow them to be considered for the job. Make any adjustments if they are reasonable, for example:

  • use premises that are fully accessible
  • change lighting or room layout
  • show a visually impaired applicant to their seat
  • offer an alternative to a standard interview, for example a working interview or allow extra time
  • allow applicants to complete a written test using a computer

When interviewing a disabled applicant, help them to perform to the best of their ability by:

  • speaking directly to them rather than any support worker
  • telling them about any flexible working patterns that you may be able to offer them
  • making sure that you ask each applicant the same questions, whether or not they are disabled

3. Disability Confident employer

Sign up to the Disability Confident scheme and you can use the Disability Confident symbol on adverts to show that you encourage applications from disabled people.

Find out how to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme and get the Disability Confident symbol below.


For more advice, including how to adjust for specific conditions, please visit here.


Disability Confident

We are working with employers to:

  • engage and encourage them to become more confident so they employ and retain disabled people and those with long term health conditions
  • increase understanding of disability and the benefits of employing or retaining disabled people
  • ensure disabled people have opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations
  • make a substantial contribution to halving the disability employment gap

Find out more about the Disability Confident campaign.

If you would more info, or help becoming a Disability Confident employer, please contact the Somerset EBP team at

Tags: Employers

Released On 29th Oct 2018

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