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We want the retail sector to be Disability Confident by fully realising the potential of disabled people, as employees and customers. We are supporting a campaign to promote Disability Confident in retail because of the benefits it can bring to the businesses, employees and customers.
The retail challenge
The retail industry is undergoing fundamental change - the way we shop is radically different today to what it was 10 years ago.
The retail sector is one of the largest employment sectors. To meet the changing demands of customers and increase productivity, our retail sector needs a skilled and committed workforce. This means having a strong pool of talent to draw from, and being able to support existing employees.
Skill shortages in the labour market can mean that the competition to recruit and retain good people is high. To meet current and future challenges, retailers need to explore all potential sources of talent and they need to have the know-how to make their businesses inclusive places to work.
Meeting the challenge – the case for employing disabled people
There are around 4.5 million disabled people and people with long-term health conditions who are out of work. And as the population is ageing, so the prevalence of working age people with health conditions will grow. This is a significant group of people which employers can’t afford to ignore.
Disabled people can bring unique skills, experience and perspectives to an organisation and, of course, they are also customers with a huge combined spending power of £249 billion.
A Disability Confident retail sector
Many employers are currently missing out. Some lack the confidence to employ disabled people, and some have misconceptions about what it will mean for their business.
The Disability Confident scheme can help businesses overcome these barriers. The scheme helps give employers the confidence, skills and tools they need to recruit disabled people and retain and support them as they progress in their careers.
There are over 5,500 employers already signed-up to Disability Confident, including over 200 retailers. The scheme is free to join and the sign-up process is easy to access. There are three Disability Confident levels – committed, employer and leader. Being ‘committed’ is the first step. Signing up doesn’t mean that an employer is perfect on disability issues – but it is a clear signal to customers, colleagues and the wider world that they are committed to getting it right..
Find out more and sign up at Disability Confident