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Unconscious bias against disabled people 'extremely worrying', says ENEI

Unconscious bias against disabled people in recruitment processes is "significantly" higher than against any other social group, the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) has warned.

According to findings from the ENEI, unconscious bias affects the potential recruitment of disabled people more than women and ethnic minority communities.

To further explore the issue, the ENEI has joined forces with The Clear Company, experts in inclusive recruitment, to conduct an in-depth study on unconscious bias over the next three months.

ENEI's diversity and inclusion director Dan Robertson called the initial findings "extremely worrying".

"While people's perceptions and attitudes towards disabled people may be changing at the conscious level, individuals continue to hold ingrained and deep-rooted negative assumptions about disabled people," said Robertson.

"The impact of these unconscious biases towards disabled people include significant disadvantage in recruitment and selection processes; bias in the selection of project teams together with reduced manager-staff communications, primarily due to a lack of confidence when working with disabled workers."

ENEI and The Clear Company are inviting members and clients to take part in the study, which will aim to measure unconscious bias and highlight the barriers faced by disabled people when looking for work.

Kate Headley, development director at The Clear Company, said: "Understanding your own biases, learning how to overcome them whilst having the right tools and support in place, is key to removing barriers in recruitment for disabled people."