Study highlights continued barriers to employment for disabled people in the UK

Disabled people face an “unacceptably harsh landscape” when searching for work, a UK disability charity has claimed.

A recent study conducted by Leonard Cheshire indicated that 73% of disabled workers have stopped working due to a disability or health condition.

Of the disabled people who applied for a job in the last five years, 30% said they felt like the employer had not taken them seriously as a candidate.

Similarly, during the recruitment process, just 20% of disabled applicants were made aware of workplace adjustments that could be made to support their disability, such as assistive technology or flexible working.

The research found that 66% of managers believed the cost of workplace adjustments are a barrier to employing a disabled person. This was up from 60% in 2017.

Neil Heslop, Chief Executive Officer at Leonard Cheshire, said that despite overall employment levels climbing to record highs, most disabled people in 2019 “remain frozen out of the world of work”. 

“More employers need to seize the opportunity of the untapped talent of disabled people,” he urged. “Straightforward measures exist to support individuals to get jobs or prevent those in work from falling out of employment due to a disability or health condition.”

Mr Heslop called on employers to redouble efforts to challenge outdated attitudes to disability and accelerate the positive change that enables talented individuals to gain and keep jobs.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, commented that even the smallest of changes can make a dramatic difference in helping a disabled person achieve their full potential at work.

“Reasonable adjustments in the workplace aren’t just the right thing to do, they are a legal requirement, and it is shocking that so many are overlooking the positive contribution disabled people can make to their organisation,” she added.

“Employers need to make a change now and we need them to monitor recruitment, retention and progression of disabled staff. Once they understand the full picture, they will be able to take action to remove the barriers faced by disabled people.”

To read the original Leonard Cheshire press release, click here