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Advanced becomes first UK business to commit to hiring ‘Invisible Talent Pool’ of people with Disabilities or Chronic Illness

Advanced Introduces Diverse and Inclusive Approach to Hiring

22nd November 2021 – British software company, Advanced, employing over 1,800 staff across the UK and 2,700 globally, has signed a partnership agreement with UK registered charity, Astriid, to access a primary source of talented recruits who are affected by disability or chronic illness – including long-Covid.

The deal will see candidates sourced for five initial roles across our regional hubs. Roles will include entry level project managers, software developers and customer service agents and should be in-situ by Q1 2022. It is hoped that this number will expand to up to 15 hires within the first year of the arrangement.

In addition, Astriid will support Advanced in ensuring it is doing everything it can to attract candidates facing long term chronic illness. Astriid will be able to fully assess what training or support Advanced offers in order to help make it a truly inclusive and appropriate environment for disabled and staff with chronic illnesses.

Addressing a Skills Crisis Through Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)

A lack of digital skills is costing the UK £6bn in lost GDP per year, according to a report produced by a special cross-industry task force established by lobby group techUK. 

Many people with long-term health conditions want to be able to work and make a meaningful contribution, gaining a sense of normality, routine, challenge and reward, and ultimately improve their overall well-being and mental health. They represent a significant and valuable part of the UK workforce.

Alex Arundale, chief people officer at Advanced, commented: “In England alone, 15 million people are living with one or more long-term health condition. 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 be able 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.”

Accessing an ‘Invisible Talent Pool’

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Steve Shutts, CEO of Astriid said: “This partnership is a first for Astriid and represents a 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 who have 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.”

Working Together

Advanced has been assigned an Astriid champion who works as an account manager with the internal HR team, to identify which vacancies will best suit the type of candidates that Astriid holds on its database. These opportunities are predominantly characterised by flexibility, location and part time or job share possibilities. Astrid will then help Advanced have open discussions about making reasonable adjustments where required to support potential employees with health issues.

Then, a matching process takes place. Candidates who are interested in these roles get in touch with their candidate coordinator inside the charity team to discuss their application. Candidate applications are then evaluated and presented back to Advanced for inclusion in the recruitment process.

Continuous Improvement

D&I in the workplace is an increasingly prominent issue brought into sharp focus during the pandemic, intensified in the wake of the recent racially motivated crimes in the US and other parts of the world. However, new findings from the Advanced 2021/22 Trends Report show that less than half (40%) of respondents believe that improving D&I is a business priority over the next 12 months.

Arundale added, “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 process to remove unconscious bias from the process, ensuring a no-CV process, which has seen more than 500 entry level people join our business, be trained and develop their careers. Today, 70 per cent 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.”

171 - Business Express

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