The first holistic research project to examine disability inclusivity in British workplaces has revealed significant discord in disabled people’s access to good work. Despite one in five of the UK’s working-age population having a disability or long-term health condition, the 2023 Ingeus Disability Diversity and Inclusivity Index unearths a lack of suitable and accessible roles with chance for progression.

Capturing the experiences of almost 2,000 employers, disabled workers and jobseekers, the survey assessed the opportunities, career equity and culture surrounding disabled people in the workplace.

The results, released by employability specialist Ingeus and market research consultancy CoreData, create an index against which chronological changes can be tracked. The inaugural Index score of 54.9 / 100 was most negatively impacted by the lack of opportunity disabled people face in finding suitable work that allows them to live comfortably.

While the lack of appropriate roles dominated disabled people’s experiences, the research also identified a reticence to disclose health details during the recruitment process and a prevalence of temporary, lower-paid positions for employed disabled people.

Key findings included:

  • A direct correlation between people’s disability and their chances of finding jobs that were a good match for their skills and
  • A lack of awareness from employers and jobseekers about help available.
  • Employers’ desire for experienced support to help them with the cultural and practical elements of attracting and keeping disabled employees.
  • Jobseekers’ requirements for small, inexpensive adaptations, such as flexible working policies, as opposed to costly workplace modifications.
  • An inertia, as opposed to unwillingness, from employers to recruit disabled people.

The disability employment gap (the gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people) sits at almost 30 per cent, while employers struggle to recruit and retain qualified workers. It’s a mismatch which Ingeus works hard to combat.

“People with disabilities and health conditions have the same working desires and expectations as everyone else,” says Fiona Monahan chief executive officer at Ingeus UK. “Attracting more disabled people into the workforce, with the support they need, is a win-win for everyone. Working is proven to be good for people’s health, their families and society. It also makes sound economic sense to reduce the number of economically inactive people and bring their considerable skills into play.

“It is frustrating and worrying that people with disabilities – the majority of which are invisible – are scared they’ll never find a job. One in five feel hopeless, believing finding work they really love is out of reach. This should never be the case, especially when addressing recruitment and retention challenges is not necessarily onerous.

“We want our ongoing indexing to chart and drive change, while we work to match jobseekers to their perfect job, and support employers to help people with disabilities join and stay in the labour market.”

Ingeus is a leading people services provider and a Disability Confident Leader. Last year it provided employability, wellbeing, and youth services to more than 29,000 people with a disability in the UK.

The 2023 Ingeus Disability Diversity and Inclusivity Index

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