Most disabled graduates fear disclosing their disability

More than 70 per cent of disabled graduates are concerned about disclosing their disability or would prefer not to disclose it at all to a potential employer, according to new research.

The main aim of the research was to understand how disabled graduates search for jobs across all sectors. It had 1,509 responses from students and graduates from more than 50 universities.

My Plus Consulting, which organises the annual event ‘OPEN’ for talented disabled students and recent postgraduates who are interested in pursuing a career in law, carried out the independent research (20 January 2011).

Director Helen Cooke said: “This ground breaking piece of research will provide graduate recruiters with the information needed to make real progress in attracting and recruiting talented disabled graduates to organisations.”

It was further revealed that 74 per cent would be more likely to apply to an organisation if their careers adviser said it was ‘disability confident’. Meanwhile, 49 per cent would be more likely to apply to employers that explicitly talk about disability or have disabled staff profiles.

The research recommendations include that graduate recruiters should improve the messaging and content of their websites to help encourage disabled graduates to apply; to provide someone for applicants to contact regarding their disability and what their requirements are; and finally have a greater presence on graduate diversity websites.

The news follows the latest OPEN event hosted at Linklaters at the beginning of February, which gave aspiring lawyers with disabilities the opportunity to meet trainee solicitors, senior lawyers and recruiters from Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Eversheds, Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells (2 December 2011).

This year a skills session on application and interview techniques was added to the event, along with an extended networking opportunity for the students.