Employment

Disabled people want to work, but there are still barriers

Halving the disability employment gap

Improving support for disabled people in and out of work 

 

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In the last 20 years disabled people have made huge progress in the workplace

Barriers to work

Disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. The difference in employment rates between both groups is known as the 'disability employment gap', which has remained at around 30 percentage points for over a decade.

There are many barriers that prevent disabled people from finding work and progressing in employment. These include negative attitudes from employers and recruitment agencies, inaccessible workplaces and inflexible working practices. 

Scope is working to break down these barriers and change attitudes towards disabled people. In 2014, Scope published 'A million futures: halving the disability employment gap', a report calling on the Government to halve the disability employment gap. This pledge was included in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2015 and is government policy.

Scope analysis shows that a five percentage point rise in the employment rate among disabled people would bring an increase in GDP of £23 billion and gains to the Exchequer of £6 billion by 2030.

What needs to change?

Recent Scope research uncovered that one in two (53 per cent) disabled people have experienced bullying or harassment at work because of their impairment or condition. One in five disabled people felt they could not disclose their disability to their employer.

Fifty eight percent of disabled people have felt at risk of losing their job because of their impairment
All disabled people who want to work should have access to specialist and voluntary guidance that is tailored to their needs and ambitions. This should have no impact on the financial support disabled people receive while out of work.

We want to see employers take a more flexible approach to supporting their staff progress in work. We also want to see specialist, voluntary and tailored advice for disabled people looking for work, alongside reform of the fit for work test.

We want to see the disability employment gap halved

We welcomed the Government’s recent Green Paper on Work, Health and Disability ('Improving Lives') which included ideas for improving attitudes towards disability and changing the structure of employment support. The Government must listen to disabled people before introducing any changes if they want to achieve their aim of halving the disability employment gap. Read about our response to the Green Paper.

A million futures

Halving the disability employment gap.

Christina says:

Photo of Christina

“I didn’t say anything on my CV but when I told employers in interviews about my condition I could see their faces change. They were gob smacked.  I just thought, right, that’s it then, goodbye.

All I needed was a window, an opportunity to prove I was more than my condition.  I am a full time receptionist in a hotel now.  I’m a good communicator and I have a bubbly personality. I like the responsibility of doing something important.  

I would say to future employers that we’re all normal but different.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and nobody should discriminate.”

Christina, Llandudno

Information for employers