Only 37 percent of FTSE100 companies have substantial disability initiatives.
This calls to 4 percent that offer a neurodiversity initiative, according to research by Agility in Mind.
As the number of UK job vacancies rises to a record 1.3mn, an audit of the FTSE100 finds that neurodiversity and disability are the most overlooked areas of diversity when it comes to recruitment and employee support.
The research also found that only 16 percent of business leaders describe their neurodiversity and disability initiatives as ‘highly effective’, in contrast to 26 percent in both race and gender.
Approximately 15 percent – 20 percent of the global population is thought to be neurodivergent – meaning they have conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia or Tourette syndrome. However, just 21.7 percent of autistic people are currently employed – the least likely to be in work of any disabled group.
“The disparity between commitment to nuances of diversity has been an ongoing issue. That only 4 percent of the FTSE100 offer initiatives to support neurodiverse employees, in comparison to the 47 percent that offer an LGBTQ+ empowerment initiative or are accredited by a national association for LGBTQ+ rights, is telling of how much work there is still to be done,” says Toby Mildon, Diversity and Inclusion Architect and published DEI expert.
How can organisational change be achieved?
The audit makes up part of Agility in Mind’s ‘Inclusive Growth’ playbook which also offers a six-step agile framework for managers struggling to implement this type of organisational change.
- Remember your organisation is unique, so merely copying others will not necessarily achieve the organisation you want to be.
- Begin with inclusivity in mind, bringing a diverse set of views into a multidisciplinary team managing change.
- Set out the characteristics of the organisation you want and share a clear vision for the future.
- Work incrementally, taking small steps that achieve real change, aligned always with the vision you have.
- Iterate, ensuring you learn at each step, and share the lessons across the organisation.
- Make change visible to all so everyone knows the progress you’re making.
Michelle Meakin, Business Services Director at Agility in Mind, says: “We’ve seen progress over the last few years with organisations of all sizes embracing change management processes to become more diverse. Core to this shift is in making sure that companies can build a culture of inclusion, making work accessible to everyone, which is able to scale as they grow.
“However, where change is harder to track- such as with invisible disabilities or neurodiversity – businesses are still lagging. As the war for talent continues, organisations that are able to tackle this widespread issue are likely to see the most diverse – and productive – teams and reap the clear benefits of building an inclusive business. This is where the agile approach to change management comes to the fore; incremental change, a strong vision of inclusion and how to get there, and an openness to adapting the route are key ingredients to meaningful and lasting progress.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.