I was very interested this morning to read an article in The Guardian, highlighting the fact that disabled people are being left behind when job hunting and there needs to be more support for disabled job seekers.
The report highlights that whilst the number of households where nobody works has decreased significantly during the past 5 years – from 20.5% to 15.4% – over half of the remaining households contain at least one disabled adult. Having worked in a charity which supported disabled people into work, I wholeheartedly agree that more needs to be done. Offering disabled people tax credits is great but it’s nowhere near enough. The problem isn’t that disabled people don’t want to or can’t work. The real problem is overcoming the attitudinal barriers which prevent them from securing employment. There are problems on both sides of the coin though.
A disabled applicant is fearful of telling an employer about their disability in case it puts the employer off and the employer is fearful of employing disabled people for several reasons – but mostly because they simply don’t understand it and they certainly don’t know that there is support available to them when employing disabled staff. (Access to Work) It should be said that:
In 2012 45.9% of working age disabled people were economically inactive which is 2.5 times higher than non-disabled people
In 2011 only 6 of the 11 million disabled people in the UK received disability related benefits
A study has found that the poverty rate for disabled adults in the UK is 30%, which is twice as high as non-disabled adults
Disabled people need to be better supported to disclose their disability, understanding when and how to do this. And employers must also be supported to understand disability, its implications and the support which is available. As highlighted in the article, the Government have done much to help single parents and young people into work but it must understand that one size does not fit all and a new approach is needed if more disabled people are to be welcomed into the workplace.
If you have a disability and would like support in your search for employment, please get in touch. If you’re an employer who would like to learn more about disability and the support available, please take a look at our training.