Aerospace and defence company, Raytheon UK, a unit of Raytheon Technologies, has become the first UK technology company in the defence and aerospace sector to join Business Disability Forum (BDF) to help tackle the disability employment gap.
Before this announcement, Raytheon UK developed a neurodiversity recruitment scheme in 2019, which “recognised the need to widen its talent pool and to access the specific skills that many neurodivergent candidates bring as part of a bespoke programme in cybersecurity.”
The announcement is a crucial boost in plugging the disability employment gap. A 2020 study entitled ‘Disability pay and employment gaps’ found that non-disabled workers earned 19.6% more per hour than disabled workers in the UK.
Furthermore, in 2020, the employment rate for disabled people was calculated at 53.7%, compared to 82% for non-disabled people.
Responding to the news, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Disability, Dr. Lisa Cameron MP, commented: “It’s great to see Raytheon UK taking active steps to ensure that they are disability aware and helping to bridge the disability employment gap across the UK. More needs to be done to ensure companies throughout the country are disability-confident, and I welcome today’s announcement that Raytheon UK is taking on a leading role within the aerospace and defence sector.”
John Dickinson, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Raytheon UK, said: “Our partnership with Business Disability Forum is an important milestone in our inclusion journey and a fundamental catalyst in supporting us to become a more disability-smart organisation.
“We must ensure that we develop a culture that is conducive to enabling all colleagues to deliver the best work of their lives, not just the majority. To achieve this, we must ensure that we consider people with disabilities and the adjustments required throughout the design of our physical and digital estate, our policies and processes, our end-to-end colleague lifecycle and, of course, ensure that our leaders have the confidence and capability to support our colleagues with disabilities.”
Raytheon UK’s Managing Director and Executive Sponsor of Raytheon UK’s Alliance for Diverse Abilities group John Gallagher said: “As a leader in the defence sector, we understand the true value that a diverse workforce has in our ability to develop innovative products and solutions for our customers.
“The skills and experiences of the disabled community are fundamentally important to our sector, and we must work together across the sector to unlock their talent and potential and develop more meaningful opportunities to reduce the disability employment gap.”
Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive of Business Disability Forum, said: “At Business Disability Forum, we know the importance of a supportive culture in enabling disabled people to ask for and receive the support they need. But many people tell us that they are afraid of admitting anything that could be perceived as a ‘weakness’ or even a difference.
“Defence is a sector which is likely to see a higher share of acquired disabilities whether that is an injury in combat, PTSD or sensory loss. We are so pleased that Raytheon UK has become a partner of Business Disability Forum, to demonstrate and live their commitment to getting it right for disabled people and to enable all their employees to bring their whole selves to work.”