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News Desk: Industry News

Disability Employment Gap 'Narrows'

01 February 2019   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Heather Ette
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Disability Employment Gap 'Narrows'

by Jon Smith FIEP CMgr FCMI, Head of Operations (Work & Health), Shaw Trust

An increasing number of employability and healthcare professionals are now recognising the link between meaningful employment and improved health and wellbeing. ’Good work’, as the Taylor Review defines it, can give individuals a sense of purpose, increase their confidence and reduce feelings of social isolation. This enables people to lead more independent lives whilst ultimately making a positive contribution to society.  

As such, the UK government wants to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in good work. In particular, the government wants to support more disabled people to enter work, and has committed to halving the disability employment gap, i.e. the difference between the rates of employed non-disabled people and employed disabled people. The gap was 32% in 2016 and the target is to hit 16% in 2020.

And to date, progress is being made. A leading think tank says that disabled people have accounted for about a third of the increase in employment in the UK over the last decade. According to a new report from Resolution Foundation, the disability employment rate has risen by 6.1%, compared to a rise of 2.8% for those without disabilities.

Leading advocacy charity, Disability Rights UK welcomed the Resolution Foundation’s findings, but — quoting the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability report Ahead of the Arc — noted that 1,074,000 disabled people would have to be moved into employment to reach the government’s 16% target. In fact, Ahead of the Arc suggests it could take almost 50 years to narrow the gap to its target of 16 percentage points.

So how can we make even more progress in reducing the disability employment gap? To better support those with disabilities and health conditions to secure and sustain employment, there needs to be more emphasis on joining up existing services. Providers of employment services provision, such as the government’s flagship Work and Health Programme, must work to ensure that integration with local health, housing, money advice, adult skills and social services form the basis of their delivery. This service join-up ensures that disabled people can get all the support they need to move into work all in one place.

Better engagement of employers is also essential. Employers can be supported by providers to recognise the huge benefits that can be gained from having a diverse workforce. Improved advice and guidance for employers regarding reasonable adjustments and support available through schemes like Access to Work, will further strengthen their commitment to diversity and inclusion.So by working more collaboratively with employers, local services and individuals with health conditions and disabilities, employment services providers can play an important role in helping the government to achieve its aim to half the disability employment gap.



Jo Ingold says...
Posted 11 February 2019
Completely agree about the importance of employer engagement. Our research also shows this, particularly in relation to disabled people: