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Omnicom's Open DisAbility initiative announces two new chairs

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Christine Lydon (L) and Vicky Bloyce will lead Omnicom's Open DisAbility Steering Group.

Of the reported 14.1 million people in the UK with a disability, 19% are working age adults. That’s 2.7m people who could be in employment. Those with a disability, however, are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, even though life costs on average an extra £583 a month if you have a disability.

While there will be several reasons why this employment number is lower, from poor health to needing regular medical attention, what should never be the reason is prejudice in the workplace. Disability equality charity Scope reports that one in three disabled people feel there’s a lot of disability prejudice whilst one in three people see disabled people as being less productive than non-disabled people.

And while there is much more open conversation today around mental health, there are still barriers around discussing disability, particularly those that are invisible.

Trying to change this, are co-chairs of Omnicom’s Open DisAbility steering group Christine Lydon, associate content director in the healthcare practice of Fleishman Hillard, and Vicky Bloyce, executive director of communications and marketing at OMD EMEA.

Part of the first summit committee for 2019, today Lydon and Bloyce are announced as co-chairs for the next 12-months, tasked with prioritising disability on the board agenda.

Committed to disability inclusion following a cancer diagnosis in 2015, Lydon sees disability as a human rights issue and is keen to increase awareness and encourage more dialogue. “Experiencing a life-threatening illness opened my eyes to the difficulties so many of us face and I am determined to use my role to help provide the support to ensure our agencies become truly inclusive of persons with disabilities.”

Bloyce is looking forward to using the Open DisAbility platform to try and drive change throughout 2021.

As a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion, Bloyce says: “Over the years, I have worked on the recruitment side of media agencies and driving D&I through marketing in my most recent role, and it has always bothered me that I didn’t see enough diversity of candidates coming through the door. We wanted to speak to everyone and let them know there was a place for them in our organisation, but for some reason the same type of candidate would always apply, and I have set out to understand why, and do all I can to change that”.

Omnicom Media Group UK has launched several initiatives to drive diversity in recruitment now and throughout 2021, including using technology to anonymise CVs, structuring competency based interviews and ensuring diverse interview panels, and Lydon and Bloyce pledge to ensure anyone with a disability feels welcome, safe and able to work at any of Omnicom’s UK agencies.

The pair plan to tackle 2021 with an action-based plan, offering solutions, initiatives and partnerships via the Open DisAbility platform throughout their co-chair tenure.

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