HR given wake-up call over disabled potential

The chairman of Mencap has urged HR departments to encourage companies to employ disabled people because they are often better employees than non-disabled people.

At the charity’s campaign launch last week to get more people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and physical disabilities into the workplace, Brian Baldock said not all companies realise the potential of the disabled as staff.

He said, “The response from HR departments has been very mixed. There are employers who have recognised the issue and there are others that have not made it part of their strategy.

Figures released by Mencap this week showed only 7 per cent of people with learning difficulties are in paid employment – most of which is part time. Only 4 per cent of people with learning difficulties living in residential care are in paid employment.

But disabled employees have attendance records 86 per cent above average, job performance 90 per cent above average and safety records, which are 97 per cent above average.

Ben Brahams, who has a learning disability, now works as an administration assistant at West London Synagogue. He said, “There are many disabled people who have computer skills and make excellent employees.”

Jill Tombs, HR director for Mencap, said, “It is up to HR departments to think what job opportunities they have and what might be suitable for someone with a learning disability.

“Many firms have trouble retaining staff at junior level and research has shown people with learning disabilities are very loyal.”

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