Tackling employers’ misconceptions

Purple is aiming to help more than 20,000 disabled people into employment.

Purple is aiming to help more than 20,000 disabled people into employment.

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More than a third of Scottish businesses are apprehensive about hiring someone with a disability, new research has found.

Concerns include fears that a disabled employee will not be able to do the job and worries about making inappropriate comments or actions. The study was carried out for Purple, which launched on Tuesday.

Dedicated to improving employment opportunities for disabled people by supporting both businesses and individuals, Purple aims to help more than 20,000 disabled people find permanent jobs over the next decade, while matching 25,000 personal assistants to disabled employers.

The organisation carried out the research to identify barriers to employing disabled workers and found that 22 per cent of business owners and hiring managers admit they are worried about interviewing someone with a disability in case they do or say the wrong thing. One in five employers said falling foul of discrimination law was a real concern. Almost half also expect disabilities to be disclosed on CVs prior to interview, although there is no legal obligation to do so.

Mike Adams, chief executive of Purple, said: “What this latest research tells us is that in fact it isn’t disability that’s the barrier to finding employment, but the worries and misconceptions of business owners themselves. This isn’t just a barrier for disabled people, but for many businesses missing out on valuable employee skills and talent.”

Purple intends to work with businesses to help them become accredited to the UK Government’s Disability Confident scheme and further information is available at www.wearepurple.org.uk