I think readers of The Financial Technologist can all agree on one thing: people are the most important asset in the FinTech sector. In the context of 2023, perhaps we could all agree on a second thing too; that talent acquisition is currently very much a seller’s market. Given these assertions, it’s reasonable to assume that you want to attract the best of the best across a range of roles, backgrounds, and levels of experience. And that you want those candidates to choose to join you rather than your competitors. Why then, in this increasingly competitive race for talent, would you choose to exclude and/or alienate an entire segment of your potential workforce?
People who are deaf or live with hearing loss report many challenges in their working lives, including feeling isolated, not being given the tools they need to perform, and even concealing their hearing loss for fear it will negatively impact their career prospects. Does that sound right to you? Does it sound like the type of environment you strive to create for your people?
Assuming your answer to both of these questions is “no”, let’s move on to what you do about it. If you already have hiring, meeting and other initiatives in place that include employees with hearing loss, then I’m preaching to the choir (and I couldn’t be happier)! If not, there’s no time like the present! First steps could be ensuring you make your policy clear right from application; make sure you allow space for candidates to request reasonable adjustments for interview or for the role itself, and ensure you then make those adjustments. For instance, at Global Lingo, we work with businesses and local sign language interpreters to ensure sign language interpretation is made available where needed for interviews. But even something as simple as making sure interview rooms are clearly lit, or interviews are conducted face-to-face can make a difference.
So far, so relatively simple. It’s post-hire that seems to preoccupy most employers, with concerns around the expense and effort of inclusion (an argument many groups have had to deal with for far longer than remotely reasonable). We say: less hand-wringing; more action, please. It can be as simple or as difficult as you make it. Global Lingo regularly provides sign language interpreters, as well as live-captioning, transcription and minute-taking for live and remote meetings and events. This ensures everyone who is at the table – whether physical or virtual – receives the same message and can take equal part in discussions.
So, ultimately, it boils down to this: do you want your company to truly include people with hearing loss? Because times are finally changing. Gen Z will no longer sit quietly in the corner and do their best with what they’re given. They are demanding to hear and be heard. And if you don’t do your level best to make space, they will take their talent, experience and voice to a competitor who will.
 For context, in 2017, the RNID put the population of people of working age with some form of hearing loss at 4.4 million in England alone.
You can read Karl's article and further industry insights in the latest edition of The Financial Technologist. Download your free copy here.
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