The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, yesterday launched a new campaign to get retailers to sign up to its trail-blazing Disability Confident scheme.
According to the latest official statistics, around 123,000 vacancies exist in the retail and wholesale sector.
With the government’s ambition to see a million more disabled people in work by 2027, the retail and wholesale sector offers huge potential for disabled people.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, said:
Disabled people can bring a wealth of talent and different perspectives to an organisation, and I want to encourage more retailers to make sure they’re not missing out on this huge untapped pool of talent.
Becoming Disability Confident sends a clear message to both colleagues and customers that retailers take inclusion seriously and value diversity.
We’ve made progress, but I want more retailers to sign up to improve equality of opportunity in this thriving sector and give more disabled people the chance of a fulfilling career.
The retail and wholesale sector is one of the largest in the UK, employing over 5 million people.
The spending power of the 11 million disabled people in the UK and their households – ‘the purple pound’ – is almost £250 billion.
The campaign will be spear-headed by retail sector leaders, including:
the British Retail Consortium
Marks and Spencer
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said:
The retail industry wants to be a diversity and inclusion leader in order to harness the talents of the whole labour market. Disability Confident is an incredibly useful scheme that provides practical support to enable retailers to recruit and retain colleagues with disabilities.
As a Disability Confident employer ourselves, along with some of our members, we look forward to working with the government to drive awareness of the scheme and increase the number of Disability Confident employers from across the retail industry.
Employers like Sainsbury’s are helping to lead the way, acting as a champion for the Disability Confident scheme within the retail industry.
Tim Fallowfield, Sainsbury’s Corporate Services Director, said:
As one of the UK’s leading retailers, we are committed to knowing our customers better than anyone else and a vital part of being able to achieve this is by having a truly diverse colleague base, reflective of the UK population.
Through our involvement in the Disability Confident Business Leader’s Group, we’re able to share our experiences and advice with other retailers with the aim to encourage them to have confidence in employing people with a disability, providing these colleagues with the opportunity to realise their potential.
We are very proud to have achieved the status of Disability Confident Leader, which recognises our hard work in this area, and hope to see a growing number of retailers sign up to the scheme.
About Disability Confident
The Disability Confident scheme, launched in November 2016, provides employers with the skills, examples and confidence they need to recruit, retain and develop disabled employees.
The scheme was developed with employers, disability charities, and disabled people.