Rhône. “A manager in a wheelchair… why not?


“People with disabilities have twice as high an unemployment rate as people with disabilities. What about young graduates? We have very little data on hiring managers with disabilities in companies. Does this lack of data matter to economists lack of interest in the subject, to false beliefs - especially to the assumption that there is no problem or that this situation is unusual?

More and more young people with disabilities are leaving the school system thanks to the measures taken in national education since the 2005 Equal Opportunities Act.

There is therefore a candidate offer for companies. However, when you call the latter or their representatives, they say they cannot find qualified candidates with disabilities, and when you speak to young people with disabilities, they say that they exhaust themselves responding to job offers in vain. Sometimes your diploma is more of an obstacle than an asset. “In any case, there is no guarantee of a job as they are in competition with the' valid 'graduates.

The specificity of France in attracting young people to higher education is important and very competitive. In addition, many jobs (especially technical) may not suit them for reasons of health and accessibility. Neither measure specifically affects managers with disabilities - particularly motor skills.


During the interviews with these graduates, it appears that they are implementing a strategy of self-entrepreneurship to avoid this too unequal competition with their high performing equivalents. We then experience a professional “overization” that appears unfair to people who should be better protected. The more qualified the disabled candidate, the less secure they are during the hiring process, as if the diploma would guarantee normality and thus no differentiation when considering their application. The 'opening of leadership positions' for disabled candidates does not mean a compensation process for the HR department. 'I responded to forty job offers that matched my profile - not a single interview' (young graduate with motor disability, masters degree, 3 years of experience).

'Dont ask people to be the same'

“The company would hire the disabled candidate for the same skills and qualifications”: This may partially apply to positions without responsibility. However, this 'hook' in opening positions for all disabilities is by no means systematic for hiring a manager, especially if that position includes a management mission.

However, a disabled applicant had to overcome many more difficulties than the healthy person. Even if their skills are different, the company could employ them according to different criteria: their personality, which allows for a variety of profiles, their role in society ... The latter has everything to gain if you consider the uniqueness of their career at fair value.

The business world does not need to ask people with disabilities to be 'the same' as a valid or healthy candidate! To believe that by erasing the differences we integrate them more closely is an old illusion, it is the 'skin whitening' syndrome.

This slogan is counterproductive and directed against applicants with disabilities by strengthening a normative economic environment.

In school, a student with severe dyslexia will not be asked to read as quickly as another: compensatory measures will be put in place so that they can advance to the next grade - the assessment of their skills will be different without being inferior.

The company could act in the same way by modulating its executive hiring process and including a compensation protocol. Otherwise, hiring managers with disabilities will always be complicated. 'I feel like I shouldnt say I am disabled in order to get an interview' (young graduate, BTS).

A number of young graduates with disabilities are successfully creating their own structure - this realization is proof that these graduates have all the skills to be successful in the world of work. Then how do you explain the brakes on companies?

'Basic work around the' change of perspective 'in the case of disabilities'

Ultimately, the diploma seems to be a brake, as it puts the candidate in performance positions and companies find it difficult to combine disability and performance, especially with visible disabilities. Performance, stress management, dynamism, workload, profitability ... seem incompatible with a disability. Disability is linked to illness, which is itself linked to work stoppages, slower work rates, and teleworking which is still poorly accepted, even if this image of 'failure' is necessarily wrong, as the person in a disability situation has shown for the most part important adaptability to reach the level of study.

We are returning to the essential work dealing with the subject of 'change of perspective', 'helping change' with disabilities ... and with disabled people who are normal people and have extraordinary difficulty in finding a job that matches their project and corresponds to the level of their ambitions. The training of business leaders, managers and human resource managers is essential, and new parity measures for these leadership candidates appear to be essential as well. Do we have to wait for a government where a minister or two are disabled to really change this situation? ''

Proposals to promote the employment of managers with disabilities

“We got it well, there is no sheltered job or positive discrimination for young graduates. Your applications will be evaluated according to the same criteria as for valid applicants in a highly competitive delivery environment.

The CSR policy of companies cannot be reduced to contracts with subcontractors in the field of sheltered work. Public and private institutions have a structuring social role. It is important that they encourage diversity in their attitudes across all categorical strata (non-manager and manager). A manager in a wheelchair ... why not?

Statistical transparency is essential

Statistical transparency is therefore essential in order not to judge, but to better understand what is hindering the hiring: bad experiences in the past, fear that the person is less resistant to stress, against the workload, unsuitable field of activity, inaccessible company, difficulties with teleworking,…. Counting companies with few employees would enable organizations to work on their fears and blockages and to really support certain attitudes.

It is important to work with companies that have a significant handicap deficit rather than companies where 4 to 5{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} of employees already have this status. If a company does not have a single disabled employee on its management workforce, support can be considered if the company so wishes.

Conducting a study with companies of their expectations of candidates with disabilities (including executives) seems essential: appreciate their needs, the jobs they would be more likely to get a job at, their fears, ... about the actors to guide in their proposals and initiatives dedicated to disability.

Tutoring for unemployed graduates and disabled workers must be increased. ''