Disabled people can and want to work, but too many face barriers to entering and staying in employment. Whilst there has been an increase in the rate of employment, disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people.
If we want to successfully tackle disability unemployment, then we firstly need to understand the scale of the problem.
We’ve been calling for businesses to improve their understanding of their disabled workforce. That’s why it’s positive that today the Government has announced plans to increase the gathering of disability data in the workplace. In a new framework it has published, the Government is encouraging employers to report on the number of disabled people they employ.
Below we outline what has been announced, and what we want to see happen next.
What does the framework focus on?
The Government has published a voluntary framework for large employers to report on mental health, wellbeing and disability.
On disability, employers are asked to report on the number of disabled people they employ, along with a narrative to explain what they are doing to recruit and retain disabled employees.
Why is reporting on disability data important?
Disabled applicants are a quarter less likely to be invited to an interview than a non-disabled person. And for every 100 disabled people who move into work, 114 leave.
By collecting and monitoring data on the number of disabled people in the workplace and their overall experience, employers will be in a much stronger position to understand where action is needed to tackle the barriers faced by disabled people, both in and out of work.
Employers already gathering disability data have told us about the value of doing so. Several have said that this information has helped them make the case internally for changes in their recruitment and HR practices.
We know that nearly half of disabled people have worried about sharing information about their impairment at work. If reporting is to be a success, then employers will need to ensure their disabled employees feel confident enough to be open about their impairment or condition. This will help create a more inclusive and open environment for disabled people in the workplace, as well as ensuring that data gathered on disability in the workplace is robust.
What do we want to see building on from this framework?
The Government is taking an important first step in understanding better the barriers faced by disabled job-seekers and employees.
In order for reporting to have a real impact in tackling disability employment, there are a number of things that we want to see happen next:
The Government must ensure that there is a clear process for analysing any information gathered, and that this shapes future approaches towards increasing disability employment.
Any data collected and published by employers is easy to understand and is easy for disabled people to access.
As with the gender pay gap, reporting on disability data should eventually be a mandatory requirement for large employers, to encourage wider take-up of reporting on disability in the workplace.
What we will be doing next
We will be publishing a report early in the new year with data on the number of disabled people we employ, as well as data on staff wellbeing. This will be followed by a more comprehensive report looking at the experiences of disabled people at Scope.
We will also be encouraging employers to publish data in relation to their disabled employees. As part of this, we will be publishing a guide for employers setting out what data they should collect, and how to go about gathering this information.
Check out our website for information for disabled people in work.