Dreams can last beyond Olympics

Adecco can retain details of candidates with disabilities once the Olympics and Paralympic Games are over

February 2012
Adecco can retain details of candidates with disabilities once the Olympics and Paralympic Games are over

Candidates with a disability who are unsuccessful in applying for jobs with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) through Adecco will have the opportunity of continuing to work with the exclusive recruitment partner to the London 2012 Olympics.Steve Girdler, director of London 2012 at Adecco, told Recruiter that following the Olympics, Adecco is set to build on its work with LOCOG by taking over a candidate pool made up of people with disabilities who were unsuccessful in applying for Olympics jobs at LOCOG.

Girdler said that Adecco has been hugely impressed by the quality of people with disabilities, who have applied for jobs at LOCOG. Under the arrangements agreed with LOCOG, people with disabilities who meet the minimum standards for a job are guaranteed an interview.

Steve Girdler

“The difference is that in a normal recruitment exercise, a shortlist is put together which would have a restricted number of interviewees. The guaranteed interview scheme does what the name suggests for disabled people who have the skills required,” said Girdler.

He explained that, where, for example, 10 people with a disability and 10 without a disability met the criteria of having a particular qualification, all those with a disability would be guaranteed an interview. However, the 10 without a disability would be shortlisted for interviews based on their CVs in the usual way.

Girdler told Recruiter the scheme has been a huge success. “What we have discovered is a huge and untapped pool of talent of people with disabilities,” he said. Indeed, so much so, that while this pool of candidates is currently solely for the use of LOCOG, after the games he said “it becomes Adecco property”. The staffing company will then work with these candidates from the autumn. “We will work with our clients to bring them into the workforce,” says Girdler.

Dawn Milman-Hurst

Dawn Milman-Hurst, chief executive of Equal Approach, a search company that specialises in diversity, told Recruiter that guaranteed interview schemes started off in the public sector but have become increasingly popular in the private sector.

According to Milman-Hurst such schemes can be effective, particularly when allied with other efforts, such as providing reasonable adjustments to premises such as providing ramps for wheelchairs. “It is a good flag to say that disability has been given some thought, and where that is the case these schemes can work,” she said, though she warned that some employers used them to play lip service rather than real commitment to hiring people with disabilities.

Milman-Hurst explained that guaranteed interview schemes are permitted under an exception in the Equality Act, which allows employers to take positive action, where certain groups are under-represented in the workforce.

    “What we have discovered is a huge and untapped pool of talent of people with disabilities”

However, she added that disability is the only equality strand that allows employers to guarantee interviews. The other equality strands are: age, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Girdler added that Adecco is encouraging its clients to guarantee interviews for people with disabilities. “It is easy to hire people ‘just like me’,” he said. “This avoids a team of mini-me’s,” and benefits clients’ businesses in turn, he said.

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