Experts call for action on disability and diversity in the accountancy sector

Diversity experts from the UK’s leading accountancy firms and a leading national charity specialising in disability employment, have called for the accountancy sector to do more to promote disability friendly recruitment and employment in the industry. 
 
At the seminar – Disability as a dimension of diversity – organised by Employment Opportunities, Sarah Churchman, Director of Equality and Inclusion for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “The accountancy profession has made steady progress with regards to gender and ethnic equality, and we need to mirror that success in tackling disability equality.”
 
“Whether people are personally affected by a disability or not, firms need to take immediate steps to build a culture that promotes a better understanding of working with disability and the issues it raises in terms of education, support and the working environment.”
 
The seminar was attended by HR and diversity managers from leading accountancy firms, including the big four: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young and KPMG.
 
Karin Pappenheim, CEO, Employment Opportunities, said: “We have organised this seminar to stimulate discussion and to share best practice from our experience in other sectors, such as investment banking, that can provide a template for similar initiatives in the accountancy field.”
 
“We want to work with accountancy firms employing people with disabilities, who represent an untapped talent pool. Disability seems to be the last frontier in diversity; but there are promising signs that more firms are now ready to address this issue – and we are ready with practical solutions to help them.”
 
Employment Opportunities has recently worked with financial institution, Citi, and leading law firm K&L Gates, to encourage more candidates with disabilities to apply for their internship programmes.
 
Megan Horsburgh, Graduate Recruitment at Citi said: “Our two year partnership with Employment Opportunities has been a success and we plan on continuing it in the future. In the last year we have seen an increase in the number of candidates who disclose their disability when applying to us – including direct applications via our website. We are pleased with this trend and attribute it, among other things, to our work with Employment Opportunities.”
 
“We believe Employment Opportunities has allowed us to connect with a pool of talented individuals we might otherwise have missed.”
 
The seminar, which was hosted by Hays McIntyre, enabled delegates to share best practice. They were invited to contact Employment Opportunities for more information on disability friendly graduate recruitment and employer advice services to obtain key insights on how to promote their organisation to disabled graduates and employees.

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