Astriid, a charity which matches talented, chronically ill people with work opportunities, is urging UK businesses to become diversity and inclusion champions to unlock significant commercial benefits and strengthen the UK economy at a time when many industries are struggling with skills gaps, vacancies are soaring and productivity is dipping.
There are an estimated 12.7 million people of working age currently estimated to be living with chronic or long-term health conditions – something which often means their skills are under-valued or overlooked by recruiters. This means the UK currently has a vast and untapped Invisible Talent Pool of highly capable, talented and qualified candidates who could fill vital skills gaps and bring invaluable experience and expertise to firms around the country.
According to Astriid’s research, overlooking the Invisible Talent Pool has real and wide-reaching implications for the UK economy. The UK is currently experiencing one of the most significant shortages in skills for a generation and many businesses are struggling to regain pre-pandemic output levels.
“Our research and work tells us that there are a staggering number of highly employable, highly skilled workers around the country that are being overlooked due to their chronic health conditions,” said Steve Shutts, the CEO of Astriid. “Individuals living with long-term health conditions are well-educated, highly motivated and have considerable expertise. And yet the lack of flexible, inclusive employment opportunities, and additional barriers during the recruitment process, leave many unable to find work.”
Shutts added, “The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently released figures show that there are a record number of job vacancies in the UK, with more jobs now sitting empty than before the pandemic. In our database of around 1,400 candidates, two-thirds are qualified at degree level or higher. They represent a competent and highly skilled community of jobseekers who could help businesses across many industries to gain a real advantage.”
In addition to supporting candidates, Astriid also offers a consultancy service to employers to assist them in overcoming any challenges they may face in recruiting from the Invisible Talent Pool.
To find out more about Astriid’s work, visit: www.astriid.org.