Equality and diversity
There are many policies and legislative measures in place to ensure that equality and diversity is duly taken into account by employers in the recruitment process.
- The Equality Act 2010 - legal framework to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination
- GOV.UK - Working, Jobs and Pensions - employment rights and advice
- HM Revenue & Customs - comprehensive information and advice about income tax, national insurance, pensions, etc.
- Student Tax Services - tax information service especially aimed at students
- Age UK - formed when Age Concern and Help The Aged merged
- Age Positive - a government website with case studies of companies which welcome applications from older jobseekers
- EFA (Employers Forum on Age) - the EFA is an independent network of leading employers who recognise the value of an age diverse workforce. In addition to supporting employers, the EFA influences Government, business and trade unions
- TAEN - The Age and Employment Network is an independent not-for-profit organisation. Its goal is to help remove age barriers to employment
If you have a disability, you are protected by the Equality Act 2010 which states that employers must not treat an applicant less favourably because of their disability. It also means that applicants can decide whether or not to disclose a disability on application for a job. The act also says that mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on your normal day-to-day activity.
The exception to this, where you must disclose, is if the job will involve putting you in situations where your disability could present a risk to the health and safety of you or your colleagues.
Employers can gain advice and financial support via the Access to Work scheme. We acknowledge that even with the Equality Act, some students may still be concerned when it comes to career planning, job search and job applications. Feel free to make an appointment for a Careers Consultation with a Careers Consultant to talk things through. In the Application and Selection section of the website we have information on Making Applications.
The Careers Service has step free accessibility, situated on Level 5 of the Sherfield Building, next to the lifts. If you require any further assistance regarding an appointment (for example, a hearing loop), please let us know in advance by emailing the Careers team.
Subscribe to 'Opportunity Update' via JobsLive - the Careers Service dedicated disabiltiy-related newsletter that is sent out on a regular basis. Just login to JobsLive and select 'update my profile' to change your personal settings.
What is a disability?
According to the Equality Act, a person has a disability if they have an impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
What are reasonable adjustments?
Under the act, employers must consider making any ‘reasonable adjustments’ you may need in order for you to work with them. Examples of this could be getting or changing equipment, such as computer software or particular furniture. It could also involve providing supervision, support or, if travel is challenging, it could mean allowing non-standard working hours, etc.
Reasons why you may not wish to disclose a disability
A common reason that applicants do not disclose a disability is because they feel that the employer may reject the application straight away. Often applicants feel that their disability would not affect their ability to do the job and would rather not draw attention to it.
Reasons why you may wish to disclose a disability
The Equality Act 2010
The act makes it unlawful for any employer to discriminate against you either during the application and selection process, or during employment.
Reasonable Adjustments and the Access to Work Scheme
Employers must consider any reasonable adjustments you may need in order to work for them. Through the Access to Work scheme employers can get financial assistance to provide any necessary specialist software, equipment etc. so there is no extra cost when hiring an employee with a disability.
Many employers recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce, with a lot of graduate recruiters actively trying to encourage more applications from this pool of talent. If you are considering applying for a company or organisation it is worth researching their employment policies and commitment to considering disabled applicants. Many employers use the Two Ticks symbol or are Disability Confident to emphasise that they are dedicated to employing disabled people and will be keen to know about your abilities.
'Sell' Your Disability
Bear in mind that you control how your disability is explained to an employer - emphasise the positive aspects of your disability and deal with any negative perceptions straight off.
Making your mind up about when/whether to disclose
Your decision of when to disclose may vary depending on the organisation and the particular job that you are applying for. Research both the employer and the job and think about how they relate to your personal circumstances.
Although there are growing numbers of positive diversity recruiters, it is worth bearing in mind that perhaps not every employer will be experts on the act and the Access to Work scheme. It is certainly worth knowing some details about these and being prepared to inform employers about the available support and the legal implications.
What is most essential is that, no matter what you are applying for, ensure that you focus on your abilities and why you feel that you are the right person for the position.
When to disclose
The decision on when to disclose a disability can be complex. You must take into account the nature of your disability as well as the job you are applying for.
During your CV & Application
Often application forms ask direct questions with regard to health and disability giving you a clear opportunity to disclose. Often it will be stated that this information is for Equal Opportunity purposes.
Before or during the Interview
If you are going to need practical assistance for an interview e.g. mobility or a speech-to-text reporter, then it is important that you contact the employer beforehand.
From an employer’s perspective it is preferable if an interviewee discloses before the interview takes place. It will allow them to make the necessary arrangements if you are going to need practical assistance.
During the interview you should think about whether you may need to discuss reasonable adjustments and whether you wish to utilise Access to Work.
When in the job
Another option is to wait until you are established in the job before deciding whether you wish to disclose. It is worth thinking about how you may approach this.
Useful disability links
- Access to Work - help if your health or disability affects the way you do your job. It gives you and your employer advice, as well as support with extra costs which may arise because of your needs
- Association of Disabled Professionals - an association providing advice, information and peer support to disabled professionals
- Blind In Business - a registered charity which helps blind and partially sighted students into work through training and employment services
- British Council of Disabled People - national representative of organisations controlled by disabled people
- DIAL (Disability Information and Advice Line) - a national service of telephone advice lines for people with disabilities
- Disability Jobsite - committed to helping employers recruit the best talent by making sure their recruitment process and jobs are accessible to disabled as well as non-disabled candidates
- Disability Now - newspaper covering a range of disability-related issues and articles
- EmployAbility - resources and information for students/graduates of European countries with disabilities
- Great with Disability - home to job opportunities and a student toolkit for disabled students
- Leonard Cheshire - charity for disabled people, offering support, training and advice in finding work
- Leonard Cheshire's 'Change 100' - an internship scheme run by Leonard Cheshire for disabled students
- The National Autistic Society - the National Autistic Society provide training to people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in work, and has a partnership with Remploy to help increase the number of people with autism entering employment
- The Papworth Trust - support and advice on applying for jobs, including advice for graduates
- Shaw Trust - Shaw Trust is a national charity which supports disabled and disadvantaged people to prepare for work, find jobs and live more independently
- You're Able - an online community of and for people with disabilities, including a forum for work and learning
- Equality and Human Rights Commission - news and advice on equality issues, including race
- Moving On [pdf] - a guide to employability for black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students and graduates
- TargetEvents - often targeted at ethnic minorities, TargetEvents offer unique experiences for students interested in a wide and growing range of sectors, including consulting, engineering, fund management, investment banking, law, professional services, public sector, real estate, retail and technology
- Windsor Fellowship - the Windsor Fellowship provides highly desirable internships with top companies in the UK for black and minority ethnic students
- Athena Forum - the project's aims are the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research to achieve a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts
- Athena Swan at Imperial College London
- Daphne Jackson Trust - the Daphne Jackson Trust enables scientists, engineers and IT specialists to return to work after career breaks
- Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships - The Royal Society invites, in particular, female candidates to apply for an opportunity that is designed to help successful candidates to progress to permanent academic positions in the UK
- Gender Equality at Imperial College London
- Women in Technology - information portal for women working in technology
- Women's Engineering Society - the Women's Engineering Society is a professional, not for profit network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development
- Women into Science, Engineering & Construction (WISE) - the WISE campaign collaborates with industry and education to encourage more UK females into STEM or construction related courses and careers
- Circa-Club - this online social and business gay network for gay professional men is free to join and includes lists of gay business
- organisations and a searchable database of vacancies from 'gay-friendly' employers
- Diversity Matters - Sexual Orientation - Information from TARGET Jobs. Find out more about your rights and disclosure.
- Graduate Prospects - advice on the handling of discrimination issues from Prospects
- LGBT - What the Equality Act means for you - Learn more about the Equality Act and the rights it gives you around sexual orientation.
- Stonewall - the latest information on sexuality discrimination issues in the workplace along with frequently asked question by employers and employees