Degree and university: Aston University- 4 year course in Managerial Administrative Studies, including a one-year industrial placement in the HR department at IBM.
Title: Human Resource Analyst at Citi. I work within the HR function on a rotational graduate programme.
Megan suffers from quite severe dyslexia and at school struggled with spelling, punctuation, and grammar. She hated reading out loud, but unfortunately her school saw this as laziness rather than a learning disability, and told her parents she was far too intelligent to actually have a problem. It was only when she went to college and handwrote an essay that her lecturer suggested she get tested for dyslexia.
Were you always interested in this sector? No not at all. I did my internship in the IT sector, but with HR being present across all sectors, I was lucky to have a range of industries to choose from. What attracted me most to financial services were the HR challenges caused by economic fluctuations and the generally fast pace of life; change is always on the horizon here, so there is never time to become complacent or bored.
How did you find out about this particular career? During my final year at university I set myself a target of finding a job before I graduated, so I took quite a structured approach to making applications, knowing that I wanted to work for a company who would sponsor further education and offer a structured graduate programme. I first heard about the HR scheme at Citi through a friend who had done a summer internship.
Would you undertake further study to improve your career prospects? Yes, in fact I am currently completing a part-time CIPD accredited Masters in Personnel and Development in the evenings with that exact goal in mind.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides? I think the best part about the programme is that it’s rotational so I don’t just have one job during the scheme. I am likely to have three placements and one of those may be in the EMEA region. So far I have worked within the Recruitment, Talent and Development departments.
The specific aspect I have enjoyed most, is managing the relationship with Employment Opportunities, a charity which Citi partners use to source disabled candidates. This has involved organising events, liaising with candidates, recruiters and other companies such as SHL and the RNID to ensure that appropriate reasonable adjustments are made, and more recently, re-designing the operating model of our partnership with Employment Opportunities. The re-design will see Employment Opportunities marketing our positions rather than taking applications on our behalf, and has been possible because of an increased level of disability awareness and confidence within the company, and the increasing willingness of candidates to disclose their disabilities to Citi during the recruitment process. All of that has been really exciting to get involved in!
I think one of the biggest downsides to working in HR is being seen by the general population as an administrator or a counsellor rather than someone who is strategic and business focused.
Has your disability had an impact on your job? So far in my career I don’t think that my dyslexia has had any impact – possibly because I am not the sort of person to let things stand in my way, especially my dyslexia or others’ views of it! At college I ended up doing 5 A-Levels to prove just this point- one of my tutors believed that I shouldn’t take English Literature because I would ‘struggle’, and the only way I could persuade him to let me continue with the course was to take an additional A-Level in case I did not succeed! I am pleased to say that I proved him completely wrong, achieving 3 As and 2 Bs including one in English Lit. Most of the time I’m not even conscious of having a disability because I have developed good ‘work arounds’ for things that I would otherwise struggle with and these strategies have just become part of my approach to work. I think my dyslexia has made me quite structured in my approach to tasks and I take lots of notes of conversations and make to-do lists, which can actually be an advantage.
Has your employer done anything to reduce the impact of your disability on your job and/or to make the work environment more inclusive to disability than it might normally be? I haven’t needed any adjustments to be made in work because as with most large companies business is largely conducted via email or typed documents which allow me to check spellings, grammar etc as standard. During recruitment I did, however, require some adjustments, in terms of extra time for psychometric tests and being allowed to type rather than hand write my responses to a case study.
I have told everyone I work with about my dyslexia and have never faced any negative reactions, so I would encourage other people to do the same to enable adjustments to be made if required.
In my experience Citi embraces diversity in general, disability being one small part of this. Within the company there are various employee networks including one called ‘disABILITY’ for disabled employees or those with an interest in this area. The network aims to raise awareness of disability issues both inside and outside of Citi, to educate employees, and provide networking and support mechanisms for its members. Citi also has long-term relationships with organisations such as Employment Opportunities and Blind in Business.