A group of 16 employers, including Alexander Mann Solutions, Cisco, de Poel and Ernst & Young, which between them spend more than £20 million on recruitment agency support, are signing up to the EFD Recruitment Protocol, which will require all recruitment agencies they work with to identify and remove the common barriers preventing disabled candidates from succeeding.
Developed in consultation with the recruitment industry and leading employers, the Recruitment Protocol has been devised to make it easier for both parties to define and implement the good practice that will deliver business improvement.
EFD's CEO Susan Scott-Parker said: "We have found over the years, time and time again, that the recruitment agencies our members are using are failing to deliver suitable candidates for the right vacancies at the right time, while often placing themselves and their clients open to legal and reputational risk.
"So our members have decided to take very practical action. The Recruitment Protocol will require their recruitment agencies to demonstrate they have the know-how and the will to remove the obstacles that prevent disabled people from competing equally."
In a recent survey undertaken by The Clear Company, 70% of disabled candidates who had previously used a recruitment agency responded 'No' or 'Not Sure' when asked if they would use a recruitment agency again. This strongly highlights the dissatisfactory experience of disabled applicants when working with recruitment agencies.
Dianah Worman, CIPD diversity adviser, said: "In today's tough times, employers need to sharpen up their approaches to recruiting and developing talent to make sure they can compete successfully in the global market. The labour market is diverse and understanding how to attract talent from the widest pool means exposing and removing the hidden barriers and inbuilt biases that stop this from happening. Being positive and proactive about disability is pivotal.
"Strong employment policies and practices are more important than ever before to keep ahead of competitors and attract the best people to sustain business performance. The EFD Recruitment Protocol on good practice relating to disability provides new insights and practical approaches to help employers do this successfully," Worman added.