‘Disability and health issues forcing people out of work’

Disabled workers still facing big barriers, but the numbers in employment – particularly women with disabilities – are rising, according to new figures released this week.



Nearly three quarters of disabled workers in the UK say they have stopped working due to a disability or health condition, according to new research from disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

The research shows:

  • 66% of managers say the cost of workplace adjustments are a barrier to employing a disabled person — up from 60% in 2017
  • 24% of UK employers say they would be less likely to hire someone with a disability
  • 17% of those that had applied for a job in the past five years saying the employer withdrew the job offer as a result of their disability
  • Of the employers that said they were less likely to employ someone because they were disabled, 60% were concerned that a disabled person wouldn’t be able to do the job.

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 these disabled applicants were made aware of workplace adjustments that could be made to support their disability, such as assistive technology or flexible working.

However,  the research also found the proportion of employers in the UK who say they would be more likely to employ someone with a disability has almost doubled, from 11% in 2017 to 20% in 2018.

Greater numbers of employers in the UK are also reporting that in the last 18 months they have hired a disabled person, with a rise from 69% in 2017 to 79% in 2018.

The research come as the Government reveals that the number of disabled people in employment in the UK has risen from 44.2% to 51.5% in just five years. Sarah Newton, the UK’s disability minister, says disabled women have seen an even faster increase, from 42.8% to 51%. However, she says more needs to be done to close the employment rate gap between disabled and non-disabled people. “Disabled people can bring a wealth of skills and talents to an organisation, and smart employers are making sure that they are not missing out on this untapped pool of talent,” she writes in The Telegraph.

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