Research undertaken by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has revealed that BSIA members consider the security industry to be a viable career option for those with a disability. This follows a recent survey launched to gauge the industry’s perceptions of equality and diversity, coinciding with the International Day of Disabled People, which aspires to raise awareness about disability issues, celebrated annually today.
According to statistics from the Office of Disability Issues, the Labour Force Survey discovered that those with a disability are less likely to be in employment than those without. The survey revealed that in 2012, 46.3% of disabled people are in employment compared to the substantially higher 76.2% of non-disabled people. However, this employment gap has decreased over the years, narrowing by 5.8% since 2002.
BSIA survey results showed that members are keen to raise awareness regarding the career paths available within the security industry. While members do feel that there are a wide range of opportunities, over 70% of those surveyed felt that there is not enough awareness amongst people regarding diversity and disability within the industry.
However, despite this lack of awareness, 62.3% of respondents revealed that their company does currently employ someone with a disability and 96.2% considered the management team of their organisation to take equality, diversity and inclusion seriously in the way they behave and talk.
41.5% of survey respondents thought that the main challenge those with a disability face when finding employment is access to suitable vacancies, with 34% believing that it could be due to a lack of understanding of the roles available within the security industry.
Remploy, which provides specialist employment services to disabled and disadvantaged people, is campaigning to ‘bridge the gap’ between employment rates by helping disabled people to transform their lives through sustainable employment opportunities.
One of its successes has in fact been within the private security industry, when Remploy supported Graham Sorley into work as a security officer for BSIA member G4S Secure Solutions.
Graham had spent almost ten years in the army, but was medically discharged in 2010 due to debilitating arthritis in his left arm. Graham was referred to Remploy by the Career Transition Partnership and was urged to apply for a position with G4S. Tom Brown, an Employment Adviser at Remploy, felt that Graham’s military background would make him an ideal candidate for a security role, particularly as he had experience with being part of a “disciplined, well honed team often working in difficult conditions.”
Graham became a security officer at Edinburgh Airport and is grateful for the support that Remploy offered him. “I was worried because I wasn’t sure I was fit enough for security work due to my arthritis. But I love what I am doing now and I can’t thank Remploy enough for their support.”