Mixed progress | Disability support rises but staff urge firms to do more

Disability support rises but staff urge firms to do more

Only two in five disabled workers believe there are good job opportunities available to them, despite a surge in confidence among UK employers that are recruiting and developing the careers of people with disabilities.

According to new research by the global hiring platform Indeed, there has been a 1,100% increase in the number of job ads mentioning ‘Disability Confident’ in five years. However, just 40% of disabled workers believe there are good job opportunities available to them, while 68% agreed employers should be doing more to support them.

One year after the government announced its National Disability Strategy to improve the lives of disabled people, Indeed analysed millions of job postings and found that the share of paid roles at Disability Confident employers increased by a staggering 1,100% in five years.

The findings suggest employers are proactively addressing barriers faced by disabled people throughout the hiring process and in the workplace and are making steps to build more inclusive cultures.

The Disability Confident Scheme was launched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in November 2016 and aims to give employers the techniques, skills and confidence they need to recruit, retain and develop people with disabilities and long term health conditions.

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Figures published earlier this month showed nearly 19,000 employers have so far signed up to the scheme with DWP analysis suggesting the scheme has had a significant impact on disability employment practices. A survey found nearly half (49%) of scheme members reported that they had recruited at least one person with a disability, long-term health or mental health condition as a result of the scheme. This rose to 66% amongst larger employers.

Despite this positive progress, Indeed’s research found that 58% agree that finding a job is harder for them than others, highlighting that there is still some way to go towards making the world of work more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities, as set out in the National Disability Strategy.

However, with only 52% of respondents to Indeed’s survey feeling confident they can reach their full potential at work, more needs to be done to ensure they thrive. Alongside pay, more flexibility with hours (39%) and location (34%) have been cited as key elements that could make a job better for people with disabilities.

Bill Richards, UK Managing Director at the global hiring platform Indeed said: “A year on from the launch of the National Disability Strategy, it’s clear we’re moving in the right direction to improve the everyday lives of all disabled people.

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“Our analysis shows a huge increase in the number of employers promoting themselves as Disability Confident in job ads, highlighting a commitment to improving access to the workplace for people with disabilities and long term health conditions.

“While progress has been made, we know that there is still a gap between the way employers view themselves as ready to recruit, retain and develop people with disabilities and the reality for employees themselves.

“Job security was cited by 65% of respondents with disabilities as the gold standard companies should aim for and against the backdrop of soaring inflation and the rising cost of living, it’s more important than ever that employers ensure people with disabilities feel happy and secure within their work, beyond simply outlining commitments at the recruitment stage.”

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