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Call for firms to recruit workers from disadvantaged groups

Call for firms to recruit workers from disadvantaged groups

2 August 2015 Email this article

Construction firms are being urged to back a campaign aimed at transforming the way businesses recruit, while encouraging them to take on more people from disadvantaged groups.

See Potential, launched by the Department for Work and Pensions, is rallying employers to tap into the skills of people including ex-offenders, those overcoming homelessness or addiction, and care leavers. It is being supported by leading figures from the business community, including Sir Richard Branson and entrepreneur Deborah Meaden.

The scheme promotes the huge potential of different groups, which can often be missed when bosses make judgments on personal backgrounds or circumstances. It is urging employers to welcome staff from all walks of life by opening up new positions to everyone and placing job adverts where those from disadvantaged groups will see them.

The initiative is supported by research carried out by Business in the Community earlier this year, which found that many firms are already benefiting from recruiting people from diverse backgrounds.

It found that 45% of companies that supported a more open recruitment process saw a direct financial impact as a result, while two thirds saw improved professional and personal skills in their workforce.

A further 60% reported increased employee engagement and morale, and 92% said it had enhanced their brand. 

Urging employers to join the initiative in an online article, Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “Many of you in sectors such as retail, hospitality, technology, transport, manufacturing and legal services are already seeing potential rather than perceived barriers.

“And it’s not just big employers: SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) have also recognised the skills that people from disadvantaged groups can provide.

“I urge other companies to learn from their experience by reviewing their approach to recruitment, and I’d encourage you to see potential by setting up your own schemes, to extend a hand to others, and to offer a fair chance.”