Disability inclusion improves but digital accessibility falls short

Valuable 500, an international disability network, has published new research revealing intensified efforts to improve disability inclusion within businesses.

The 2022 Valuable Truth Report, conducted across the businesses within the Valuable 500 network, highlights a stronger focus on accessibility in business: 58% of companies surveyed have started or invested in exploring inclusive innovation opportunities.

Other positive indicators include the fact that 81% of those surveyed declared an improvement on their pre-pandemic disability strategies, with 87% now charting DE&I efforts within their annual report. A consideration of disability is now central to recruitment processes, to improve disabled representation and foster an inclusive work ethos from the offset, a majority of respondents said: almost two thirds (65%) report adjusting their interview process, 74% advertise as an inclusive employer and 62% explicitly encourage applications from disabled candidates.

Furthermore, 70% of respondents have a resource network and a support group in place for disabled employees and 59% have a dedicated internal role or executive sponsor to advance disability inclusion, Valuable 500 added.

On the other hand, 33% of respondents to the survey have not developed or begun to implement a digital focus on accessibility. Although 32% of companies use customer insights, they are not targeted at disabled customers and 25% do not engage in consumer or stakeholder insights at all. In addition, only 15% of companies report disability at board level and just 3% of leaders openly discuss their own disability, Valuable 500 said.

Announced at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2019, the Valuable 500 is a community of global CEOs committed to disability inclusion in business. Some of the latest members include PayPal, Yahoo, the European Investment Bank, Ralph Lauren and Accor. The Valuable 500 now has combined revenue of $23trn and employs more than 22 million people. The membership now includes 37 of the FTSE 100 companies, 44 of the Fortune 500, and 28 of the Nikkei, the organisation said in a statement.