UK software firm Advanced has signed a partnership agreement with Astriid, a charity for people with long-term health issues, to recruit talent with disabilities or chronic illnesses, including long-COVID.
The deal includes sourcing candidates for five initial roles to commence by the first quarter of 2022. The roles include entry-level project managers, software developers and customer service agents, to expand this to 15 hires as the year continues.
Improving disability hiring in 2022
Astriid will support Advanced, currently, the UK’s third-largest IT software firm, to focus hiring efforts on candidates facing long term chronic illness. This group is an untapped and overlooked talent pool.
The charity will offer training and support to ensure Advanced achieves workplace inclusion and evaluate applications and present them back to Advanced for inclusion in the recruitment process.
They will also provide an ‘Astriid champion’ who will work with Advanced’s HR team and identify which vacancies suit the candidates on Astriid’s database.
Opportunities will be characterised by flexibility, location and part-time or job share possibilities, which are more likely to suit candidates with disabilities and related conditions.
Astrid will also help Advanced have “open discussions about making reasonable adjustments where required to support potential employees with health issues.”
Alex Arundale, Chief People Officer at Advanced, commented on the new partnership: “In England alone, 15 million people are living with one or more long-term health conditions. The consequence is an invisible talent pool of skilled professionals who have expertise and experience but may need some flexibility and an inclusive workplace to contribute.
“Our partnership with Astriid is a further commitment on our journey to create an equitable and inclusive place where people can thrive. It will enable us to continue to improve our approach and benefit from the many years of experience and education that these candidates have to offer.”
The perks of hiring from the “invisible talent pool”
Aside from economically empowering the disabled community, including those with long-term health concerns, opening up the talent pipeline to include this group could help stem the impending skills shortage, with a lack of digital skills costing the UK economy some £6bn in lost GDP per year.
Steve Shutts, CEO of Astriid, said: “This partnership is a first for Astriid and represents growing confidence and demand for the service we provide.
“Those that are chronically ill or disabled make up a staggering one in four of the UK’s workforce, yet frequently face discrimination from employers. Astriid bridges the gap between businesses and skilled professionals with long-term health issues. If you’re an organisation that wants to deliver on its D&I commitment, it can be hard to find the talent that exists. We have over 1,400 candidates who have value to offer, so it’s a win-win.”
Arundale continued: “We strive to continuously improve our approach to D&I. This year we published voluntarily our first Diversity Pay Gap report and have just launched our first-ever ESG report.
“Five years ago, we reformed our recruitment to remove unconscious bias, ensuring a no-CV process, which has seen more than 500 entry-level people join our business, get trained and develop their careers. Today, 70% of all experienced openings within Advanced are filled through internal mobility – that is, those entry-level joiners progressing upwards. We will continue to drive these programmes harder as we grow, making sure we are making a difference in doing our bit to address the digital skills gap.”