More than 1 billon people – that’s 15% of the world’s population – live with a disability.
In the UK, the number of working age people with a disability is 7.6 million however, over half of business in the UK exclude disabled talent1, and according to the International Labour Organisation, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities in some countries is as high as 80%.
That’s a significant untapped talent pool. A diverse talent pool brings diversity of thought and new points of view, thus sparking innovation. This enables business to better serve the needs of consumers.
“Having a diverse and inclusive environment where every person can bring their full and authentic selves to work is something we want Unilever to be famous for,” says CEO Alan Jope.
Our commitment to creating an inclusive business
At Unilever, we’re committed to creating an environment where every employee is empowered, and able, to bring their true self to work. Our vision is to be a fully inclusive and accessible employer for our disabled colleagues and potential colleagues.
So, we’ve set ourselves the target of having 5% of our workforce represented by people with disabilities by 2025 and to being the number one employer of choice for disabled people. These targets not only drive momentum but communicate our commitments so our colleagues, partners and customers can hold us accountable.
We believe that to serve and support society as best as we can with our products, we need to build a business which reflects the diversity of our customers and echoes their needs. We cannot be successful if we don't recruit from the full population, including candidates with disabilities.
Here are a few ways we’re working to make Unilever more inclusive of people with a disability.
We’re creating a culture where everyone can thrive
We want to provide an inclusive, positive workplace culture that makes all employees feel valued and able to bring their true self to work.
To promote more understanding of disabilities we are sharing the success stories of employees who are currently in Unilever and doing fabulous work while living with a disability.
Amna Raheel is just one of our hero pioneers who has shared her story. Amna works in e-commerce, has muscular dystrophy and is a wheelchair user.
“My role is not affected by my disability,” says Amna. “The digital world has made everything accessible for people with physical immobility. I run campaigns for e-commerce and execute them via online platforms such as daraz.pk and hummart.com. There’s plenty of strategic thinking involved, and the results I get are not impacted by the fact that I create campaigns in my wheelchair.”
Alongside real-life case studies we are offering staff access to a full suite of learning pathways via our in-house training platform to help build knowledge and more inclusive behaviours.
We’re improving our physical and digital accessibility
We’re working to create good accessibility in our systems and our workplaces and now have global guidelines to ensure accessibility in IT, recruitment, communications and workplace design.
The Disability Confident Scheme
The Disability Confident scheme is a government scheme in the UK which encourages employers, large and small, to think differently about disability and provides guidelines to improve recruitment, retention and progression of disabled colleagues.
At the beginning of 2019 Unilever UK & Ireland joined the voluntary scheme at the first level, ‘Disability Confident Committed’ employer and have recently been awarded ‘Disability Confident Employer’ status, recognising the positive changes we’ve taken to create a disability inclusive work environment.
To achieve the second level status, Disability Confident Employer, Unilever UK and Ireland have the following programmes and initiatives in place:
- Advertising all Unilever UK & Ireland available job vacancies on Evenbreak, a specialist job site run by and for people with disabilities
- Ensuring recruitment and interview processes are flexible, and offering any adjustments required
- Providing a number of targeted placement opportunities for students with disabilities
- Working with the Business Disability Forum, Unilever created a ‘Disability Standard Scorecard’, which provides clear guidance for our sites to follow to create a consistent business environment and culture able to support our employees with disabilities
Here at Unilever UK & Ireland we are now working hard towards achieving the third and final level status, ‘Disability Confident Leader’.
Globally, Unilever also have a commitment to make all our sites accessible by 2025
We’ve engaged expert help
Working with the Business Disability Forum, a disability inclusion expertise organisation, we are making sure that we are bringing the latest thinking and frameworks as we design and deploy our global disability inclusion programme.
We’ve launched Enable@Unilever to promote change
Enable@Unilever is a global employee support network for our colleagues with disabilities and allies. It offers mentoring and advice on how to overcome any physical or emotional barriers preventing people from reaching their full potential at Unilever.