Employers are being urged today to employ people who are disabled, older than 50 or have a criminal record to plug the current skills gap.

The community outreach charity Business in the Community (BITC) says employers need to address outdated recruitment practices to tap into more diverse pools of talent.

The call to action comes as analysis shows that there are 3.1 million people in the UK who could fill the UK’s record 1.2 million live vacancies if employers took action to recruit more inclusively.

Nicola Inge is the Employment and Skills Director at Business in the Community. She said: “Today’s campaign calls on employers to take five steps to open doors to those who experience more barriers than most when trying to seek employment. By eliminating practices that exclude or deter jobseekers, employers could better connect with a diverse talent pool of over three million people.

With a third of the UK’s working age population made up of people between the ages of 16-24 and 50-65 and one in five adults of working age in the UK reported to have a disability, employers must consider how their recruitment policies could lead to them missing out on more people applying for available positions.

Two million inclusive jobs within three yearsBITC’s Opening Doors campaign says it aims to make two million jobs more inclusive by 2025, by ensuring that employers work with a wider pool of diverse and disadvantaged jobseekers. The campaign’s five-point plan calls for employers to:

  1. Create partnerships which connect people from disadvantaged groups to your jobs
  2. Show candidates that you’re committed to inclusion
  3. Make sure job descriptions and adverts are comprehensive and use inclusive language
  4. Focus on the essential skills and capabilities that are needed to do the job
  5. Prioritise accessibility and eliminate bias

Ms Inge said: “With job vacancies at an all-time high, and many businesses struggling to fill roles across a number of sectors, our campaign aims to solve two big societal problems. What we need to see now is a high take up rate from employers up and down the country, so that obstructive recruitment practices are removed from the job market as soon as possible.”