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Employers are missing out on a talent pool of graduates with disabilities

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Employers are not doing enough to recruit graduate staff with disabilities, according to a new report.

A survey carried out by Employment Opportunities, which is part of national employment charity Shaw Trust, shows that only one third (33%) of graduate employers are working to attract graduates with disabilities although more than two thirds (67%) have diversity programmes in place, with formal graduate programmes.

While over half (54%) of surveyed employers with diversity programmes said that they attached a high degree of importance to disability as a dimension of diversity, only 37% of those believed that a good representation of disabilities has been achieved within their organisation.   
When asked what the most demanding aspects of recruiting, managing and developing staff with disabilities were, 45% of graduate employers said support for the person with disabilities was the most demanding issue while 42% indicated it was keeping up with the legislation.

Karin Pappenheim, director of Shaw Trust's Work and Independence division, said: "This survey shows many employers who recruit graduates are still missing out on the talent pool of students with disabilities. There are nearly 16,000 students with disabilities graduating from British universities each year. This research shows they are facing an even tougher time in the recession in securing the career opportunities for which they have studied and worked so hard.
   
"The good news is that major employers are still recruiting graduates, albeit not in such large numbers as pre-recession, and they are still committed to diversity at work. But this research shows they will need to try harder on disability in their diversity and graduate recruitment."

The findings reinforce previous research evidence of the employment gap for students with disabilities, who are 1.5 times more likely to face unemployment than non-disabled students.