Jul 5, 2021

Disability Pride Month at Starbucks

Helen Adams
4 min
Starbucks celebrates Disability Pride Month: three employees explain how customers can be allies to the disabled community

Starbucks celebrates Disability Pride Month this July, the anniversary month of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act

Starbucks employees have gathered some ideas on how to be a top ally:

  • Get to know the person first, before the disability
  • Don’t make assumptions that people with disabilities need or want to be fixed or saved
  • Recognise that disability is only one part of a person’s identity
  • Listen and ask questions
  • Teach children to say hello, instead of stare

Here are four stories from Starbucks employees who have found strength in their identities.


Stephanie, 40, Starbucks senior facilities manager, Maryland

In her role, Stephanie coached people on their personal and professional development.

“I was asking people: share your personal journey, tell me about what shaped you,” said Stephanie. “But I felt like I was hiding this secret. I wasn’t sharing a part of my life. That’s been the journey of this last year, to come forward and tell people that I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and panic disorder. I’m getting comfortable saying that to hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

Stephanie has become a leader of the mid-Atlantic chapter of the Starbucks Disability Advocacy Network, an employee resource group. 

She’s committed to educating herself and others on issues faced by people with disabilities, 

such as ableism, prejudice and discrimination. 


If you want to be an ally to the disabled community

“I’ve learned you have to recognise and be OK with not knowing everything, and knowing you’re going to make mistakes and be in situations where people correct you,” Stephanie says. “It’s OK. It’s going to take time. It’s not a sprint. It’s small steps.”

Rosie, 22, Starbucks barista, New Hampshire

Rosie lives with Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome (CMS) which weakens her muscles, paralyses vocal cords and means she has to use a feeding tube to eat. 

At the University of New Hampshire, she majored in journalism and graduated with honours in May.

At Starbucks, Rosie communicates through texts, sign language and cards.

“I have note cards with common questions like ‘Cream and sugar?’ ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘Would you like that warmed up?’ and so on, because I have a weak voice and it’s hard to hear. I also use the notes app on my phone to communicate. I sign, but not enough people know American Sign Language.”


If you want to be an ally to the disabled community

“I have had a few people ask me ‘if I’m able to take their order’ or ‘if I’m capable’ and things like that which annoyed me more than anything because why would I be here if I couldn’t? So that bias and stigma is still around but thankfully more and more people are becoming aware.”


Joe, 28, store manager, Southern California

Born in Guam, Joe was unable to fully hear sounds – especially whispers. When he moved to San Diego, Joe attended a school for deaf children and was diagnosed with otosclerosis.

“Growing up, I was classified as Deaf,” Joe says. “I was very ashamed of my hearing. I was embarrassed. I thought if people found out, they wouldn’t want to be my friend, wouldn’t want to talk to me, wouldn’t want to hire me. So I taught myself how to read lips, read the room. I taught myself things to be and feel normal. I wore hearing aids as a little kid, but after a while I would take them off when I got to school… I saw how other kids would act toward kids with disabilities.”

Hearing aids gave Joe the confidence to take a job at Starbucks. 


If you want to be an ally to the disabled community

“I think the biggest message for me is don’t be afraid of someone with a disability or don’t think that you can’t approach them. You don’t need to make the disability the focal point, the talk about the disability will come eventually. You don’t need to lead with the disability. Just talk to them like any other regular person. You connect, you talk, and then eventually, the disability will come up.”


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Jul 9, 2021

Recruitment survey shows struggle to fill hospitality jobs

Helen Adams
3 min
Hospitality worker
A survey from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation shows that Brexit and the pandemic have caused a shortage in roles for hospitality and food jobs

Hospitality and food businesses are hiring and wages are rising, but employers are facing the biggest deterioration in the availability of candidates to fill new roles in the sector, for more than two decades.

A monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said the reopening of the economy has led to an increase in hiring in the hospitality and food sectors but the high demand for workers is not being met.


A return to normal requires more workers

The steady return to more normal business operations has led to greater demand for staff . As businesses move back into their offices, or begin hybrid working between home and the workplace, there is a need to be filled for tea breaks, caffeine fixes and working lunches. The hospitality and food sectors and trying to fill the vacancies:

  • Permanent staff appointments expanded at the quickest rate since 1997
  • Temp billings growth hit the highest for nearly 23 years
  • Permanent appointments growth hit a series record 


At the same time, vacancy growth hit a new series record.  

The availability of workers declined at an unprecedented rate, driven by faster falls in the supply of both temporary and permanent staff.

As a result, rates of starting pay rose rapidly at the end of the second quarter.  


Improved business confidence leading recovery

The report is compiled by IHS Markit, from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.

“Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy”, said Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC. “The jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time. We can’t yet tell how much the ending of furlough and greater candidate confidence will help to meet this rising demand for staff. In some key shortage sectors like hospitality and food, more support is likely to be needed to avoid slowing the recovery. That means supporting transitions into growing sectors through unemployment support and new skills programmes, as well as making sure the new immigration system reacts to demand.”

“June’s data confirms that momentum in the jobs market continues to surge, with improved business confidence leading to record high recruitment activity”, said Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK. “As we move towards the final easing of pandemic restrictions, permanent role availability increased at the quickest rate since the survey began in 1997 and temporary roles rose to the greatest extent for 23-and-a-half years. But for the fourth month running we’re seeing a decline in the availability of candidates to fill all these new roles and the most severe deterioration for 24 years. We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers now more than ever, as the increasing skills gap in the workforce has the potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery.”

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