Last year, little over 50% of disabled people were in employment; compared to over 80% of people without a disability.
This was an improvement on the year prior, but nevertheless, an appalling statistic which highlights the scope of disability inequality in the UK workplace.
Many disabled people can and want to work, but encounter barriers or bias when seeking employment.
Disability discrimination, whereby a person is treated less favourably due to being disabled, is illegal under the Equality Act 2010. However, the current disability employment gap shows that much more needs to be done to develop and maintain equal opportunities for disabled people in the workplace.
What is being done to improve disability inclusion?
The government’s National Disability Strategy was planned for release this time last year. It intends to transform society, making a difference in the day-to-day lives of disabled people.
Due to the pandemic the new strategy is still pending, although not forgotten.
The CSJ Disability Commission recently launched a report keeping a spotlight on the issue. It was accompanied by an open letter to the prime minister, signed by several business leaders, urging the government to make haste and deliver on their promise.
In anticipation and encouragement, the CSJ report titled “Now is the time” gives recommendations on how many areas of life can be improved for disabled people. One such area is employment.
For the lives of disabled people to truly be transformed, a community effort is required. Everyone has a part to play when it comes to improving disability inclusivity.
Becoming a Disability Confident employer
Employers can sign up to the government’s current Disability Confident Scheme by showing a commitment to improving equal opportunities for disabled people in the workplace.
This may be through inclusive and accessible recruitment, offering interviews to disabled people, providing reasonable adjustments, or supporting existing employees.
Internships, student placements and traineeships that welcome young disabled candidates can help to build valuable work experience and encourage disabled youths to realise their full potential.
Those who become disabled later in life may already have a wealth of knowledge and experience behind them, and just need the opportunity to show that they are the right person for the job.
Becoming a Disability Confident employer helps to break down the barriers to employment that many disabled people currently face. Joining the scheme can encourage disabled people to apply for vacancies with you. It also shows a commitment to looking after all staff and can benefit your business in many ways.
Benefits of disability inclusion in the workplace
Businesses that embrace disability inclusion can see far reaching benefits for their people and their organisation.
From accessing a wider pool of talent with new ways of thinking, to higher levels of engagement and staff retention.
An inclusive company culture that allows everyone to be themselves at work produces happier and more productive employees.
Disability can happen to anyone, at any time in their life. To see an improvement in disability inclusivity in the UK, make a positive change today and ask about becoming a Disability Confident employer.