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Becoming disability confident

PwC is working with social enterprises and charities to support people with disabilities to have fulfilling careers.

Setting the scene

As one of the UK’s leading employers we are committed to improving diversity in the workplace. Bringing people together who think differently and have had different life experiences encourages diversity of thought and can lead to innovations - our diverse workforce makes us a better firm. 

There’s a gap of almost 30% between people with disabilities who are in employment in the UK compared to people without disabilities. The biggest obstacle for those who want to work is accessing the right level of support. To address this, we’ve committed to becoming a Disability Confident Employer, which means not only recruiting from the widest talent pool possible, but leading by example in changing attitudes towards disability. Here are some of the ways in which we’ve supported employment and raised the profile of disability in our workplace.

How we helped

We want to use our position as a large employer to challenge the perception of those with disabilities. One way we are doing this is by collaborating with partners such as auticon. Auticon is an IT consultancy that places people with autism in firms to develop meaningful, rewarding careers. Recent data from the National Autistic Society found that only 16% of adults with an autism spectrum condition were in full-time employment, despite more than three-quarters saying they have the skills and desire to contribute to the workplace.

Working with auticon meant that we were able to work with a partner to identify and successfully onboard someone with autism while offering an inclusive workplace. The first person to join us is Aeron Vale, who was advised when he was younger not to tell people he had autism in order to avoid being stigmatised. Today, he’s proud to speak up and share his experiences to encourage others as you can see in our video. 

Another one of our employees, Chris Keogh was paralysed from the waist down following a severe footballing injury - two days before he was due to start working for us. During his time in hospital and spinal rehab, managers and colleagues visited Chris to help prepare him to join us despite this significant setback.  Our wheelchair-friendly offices and dedicated car parking spaces further supported his journey to joining PwC and resuming full-time employment.

As well as using our employment footprint we also want to use our profile to raise awareness of the issues, tackle stigmas and improving understanding. This year we ran a number of events on disability and related issues, aimed at all of our people. These included celebrating the International Day of People with Disabilities as well as hosting this year’s annual event for PurpleSpace, the networking and professional development hub for disabled employees and organised a comedy night with the group  ‘Abnormally Funny People’.

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Becoming disability confident

PwC is working with social enterprises and charities to support people with disabilities to have fulfilling careers.

View Transcript

“From the outset of the engagement between auticon and PwC, it was positive to see how many different teams were engaged in attending the training on autism and neurodiversity. In particular, I was struck by how proactive the team were in ensuring Aeron’s reasonable adjustments and flexible working needs were accommodated. Throughout the project, Aeron’s manager Lisa and her team have been extremely supportive, allowing Aeron to showcase his technical proficiency and versatility.”

Russell Botting, Job Coach auticon

Making a difference

There’s no better way to realise the impact than by hearing directly from our people. Aeron and Chris’s experiences inspire and encourage us to continue working towards equality in our firm but also to demonstrate leadership in this space more broadly. 

We’re committed to being an inclusive employer, and aim to increase our work with partners like auticon and Purple Space. We will continue to use our profile to tackle stigmas and help people with disabilities achieve their potential in the workplace and beyond.