Prejudice over disability can endure throughout a career
When aspiring lawyer Robert Hunter began work for Allen & Overy in London, he omitted to tell the international law firm that he suffered from progressive hearing loss.
By the time they found out, he was on the way to becoming a partner. Thirty years later, Mr Hunter is a fraud lawyer and a partner at Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon.
These days he participates in meetings with the assistance of a typist who transcribes what is being said for him to read. Yet he is dismayed when he looks around the City to see so few people with disabilities in senior positions. In 2014, Mr Hunter set up City Disabilities, a charity that mentors professionals and students with disabilities to help them forge successful careers.
In today’s recruitment market, he says, he would be more confident of being hired than when he started out. Even so, such is the “subtle nature of City dealings that it’s still possible for professionals with disabilities to be quietly sidelined”.
“Is there an issue? Self-evidently,” says Tony Cates, a vice-chairman at KPMG and sponsor of its disability network, “because when you look around we don’t have many disabled people at partner level.” Encouraging applications from candidates with disabilities will not by itself build fairer workplaces.
How far and fast people make progress once they are hired often depends on having the right connections and acquiring the experience to build an impressive CV.
One popular approach to tackling workplace inequality is to expose people to the idea that everyone unconsciously harbours some form of prejudice. However, some research suggests that when people are told this, they feel absolved and their views may even harden. Another approach is to make equal treatment the easy option.
Making it plain that managers will be marked down if they neglect the professional development of team members with disabilities would be a good start.
Using Data to Combat Prejudice Against Immigrants
– What are the contributions of migrants to trade, to the economy of their countries of destination and origin? This is an angle that is generally ignored in the international debate on the subject, which usually focuses more on issues such as the incidence of foreigners in crime or unemployment.
In order to discuss these and other questions, international experts met in Buenos Aires on on Thursday, Dec. 14, at the first Forum on Migration, Trade and the Global Economy.
Not coincidentally, but to highlight the links between both topics, the event was held a day after the end of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), also held in the Argentine capital.
“Migration is treated today in the world almost as a police matter. We stress the need to address the issue a different way, analysing the favourable economic outlook, especially in international trade,” said Aníbal Jozami, president of the Foro del Sur Foundation.
There are some 244 million migrants in the world today – around three percent of the total population – according to figures provided by Diego Beltrand, the IOM regional director for South America.
The number of migrants grew by an estimated 300 percent over the last 50 years. Different kinds of evidence of their economic contribution, something that is usually ignored, were presented at the forum.
This lack of knowledge about the positive impact of migration is the reason why, Beltrand said, “freedom of trade has been widely recognised around the world, but not freedom of movement for people.”