To effectively tackle the disability employment gap, we first tried to identify the challenges that employers think that they and their business face when it comes to recruiting and retaining disabled staff. Once we had an understanding of this, we attempted to come up with a considered, data-driven solution.
Our research was conducted through a series of one-on-one interviews with business owners and HR professionals through an extensive employer network. Our research highlighted to us that employers are not always aware of available support through government schemes such as Access to Work and that there is a low recruitment and retention rate throughout all industries.
Additionally, there were complications when conducting this research in gaining precise responses. Some employers were unable or unwilling to disclose why they couldn’t retain disabled employees and some disabled people don’t disclose their disabilities for fear of discrimination.
We also undertook desktop research, in which we found concerning statistics such as 83% of disabled people acquire their disabilities in work, 300,000 people fall out of work due to health conditions each year in the UK and that only 45% of employers understand what “reasonable adjustments” for disabled people under the Equality Act 2010 actually means.
Our research report recommended that the following actions are prioritised:
The Retention Pathway Support Project aims to work closely with employers to improve job retention for disabled employees, provide information and support on employing disabled people and to ensure that the solutions provided are sustainable and practical for employers to put into place.