Firms to become futureproof if hiring dyslexic individuals, report says

Firms to become futureproof if hiring dyslexic individuals, report says

Accountancy is one of the sectors that could benefit from dyslexic employees as the profession evolves, recruitment professionals say.

Firms to become futureproof if hiring dyslexic individuals, report says

A new report led by EY and the charity Made By Dyslexia shows that firms can help futureproof their workforce and tackle the digital skills gaps by broadening their talent pools and hiring dyslexic individuals.

The report, entitled ‘The Value of Dyslexia: Dyslexic capability and organisations in the future,’ enhances the present skills potential of more than 6.6 million dyslexic individuals in the UK.

The findings reveal that one in ten of the population could help provide the necessary support for employers to adapt to this technological revolution, suggesting that firms experiencing digital transformation should reform their recruitment process.

Accountancy at the heart of the debate

With the arrival of MTD, AI, and automation, accountancy is one of the most concerned industries when it comes to future recruitment change, in which new digital tools generate a revised training and hiring system – and a need for different skills.

Dan Richards, Head of Recruitment at EY for UK and Ireland, assesses how technology in industries such as accountancy will revolutionise the recruitment process of firms.

He said: “Technological innovation continues to challenge and change how we work, and how we recruit. Automation is creating new roles whilst displacing others, leading to a change in demand for workplace skills. This is creating a mismatch in terms of skills availability, which makes it harder for firms to recruit.”

For this reason, he recommends firms revise their hiring process and expand their talent pools by using technology as an instrument of change.

Richards added: “A transformative approach is therefore needed to build an increasingly diverse talent pool. At EY, we’ve adopted a strengths-based recruitment and selection methodology and use technologies to provide a platform that accurately tests a candidate’s aptitude, while offering them the opportunity to showcase the best of themselves.”

Justine Campbell, Managing Partner for Talent at EY for UK and Ireland, believes innovation, clients, and business performance encompass the main reasons as to why accountancy should employ dyslexic individuals.

She explained: “The future depends on our ability to innovate, and this requires us to recognise and harness diverse perspectives. Through different ways of working and new ways of thinking, they can provide several strengths to how teams operate. This can include analytical thinking, creativity and innovation.

“Our clients and communities are diverse and expect us to understand their needs and to represent them in our workforce. We will be better able to serve our clients if we bring together talent from all communities.”

She added: “Our own analysis, as well as many public studies, demonstrate that diverse and inclusive organisations achieve greater margins, profitability and customer satisfaction, and enjoy increased employee engagement and retention.”

Broadening the talent pools

Ben Cooke, lead contributor of the report and chair of EY’s Dyslexia Community, explains how the stigma of dyslexia often discourages firms from hiring dyslexic individuals and changing their process of recruitment, generating a loss of opportunity for these to become futureproof.

The report led by EY and Made By Dyslexia demands CEOs change the way they approach those with dyslexia along with investing in clear automation and people strategy. To bridge the emerging skills gap, it suggests employers should apply non-traditional thinking to their recruiting process, such as casting the talent net wider and including neuro-divergent hires.

Cooke commented: “The analysis demonstrates how dyslexic individuals can typically have strengths in a range of competencies, such as analytical thinking, creativity and innovation. These competencies have been identified by the World Economic Forum in the ‘emerging’ top 10 that will be required in the workplace in 2022.

“However, a limited understanding of dyslexia in organisations can often drive a negative association of ability. When understanding dyslexia from a skills-basis, we can broaden our understanding of dyslexia more generally to encompass both the challenges and potential strengths that come with really thinking differently. This could be the key for organisations to unlock the potential of workers that could help their business grow in the digital age,” he added.

Above all, the increasing investments in machine learning and automation will generate significant shifts in the types of jobs and skills required, leading in a high demand for individuals with different minds to fill in new jobs.

A re-skilling imperative

The World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report highlighted that 54% of all employees will require upskilling by 2020 in order to curb the growth opportunities offered by the technological revolution, with 35% also needing additional training of up to six months – emphasizing the pressing need for change in recruitment.

Kate Griggs, founder and CEO of Made By Dyslexia said: “Our report reinforces the importance of dyslexic thinking for the future. Businesses, and educators must ‘lean in’ and adapt their organisations and systems to embrace this change, and fast, if we are to truly build the workforce of tomorrow.”

Key benefits for accountancy firms

Richards believes there are key benefits for accountancy firms hiring dyslexic individuals, upholding a change of perception of dyslexia could generate a flexible and adaptable talent pipeline to the evolving industry.

He suggests employers should implement a neuro-diverse strategy by focusing on four levels:

  1. Build capability: Determine how dyslexic strengths can be deployed in the organisation to help meet business objectives
  2. Target performance: Use assistive technologies, tailored processes and specific strengths-based performance criteria to evaluate dyslexic candidates and enable them to perform exceptionally in roles
  3. Drive motivation: Make reasonable adjustments during the interview process and provide support, coaching and mentoring to build dyslexic confidence
  4. Enhance efficiency: Train managers to recognise, facilitate and nurture dyslexic strengths

Aligning dyslexic skills with culture and automation will be key to open a different recruiting process and opening new talent to the future workplace.

Steve Varley, EY’s UK chairman, said: “At EY we have seen the benefits of transforming our own recruitment processes to drive greater diversity within our workforce. Teams of people with different skills, experiences and perspectives add huge value to our clients and can equate to commercial advantage in the market.

“In 2015 we introduced a blind-cv policy and removed the academic entry criteria from our student recruitment process, which opened our doors to a wider pool of talent. Last year we went a step further by removing the conventional final interview for school-leavers and graduate applicants.”

He concluded: “I’m proud of the work that EY and Made By Dyslexia has done to highlight the talents of dyslexic and neuro-diverse individuals and the value they have in the workplace of the future. We hope that it encourages other organisations to think differently and adopt more inclusive hiring and retention strategies.”

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