Employees prioritise disability over age and gender, new workplace survey unveils
Over half of UK employees surveyed feel disability inclusion is most important in the workplace, a new Wildgoose survey has revealed.
Disability in the workplace has gained considerable attention in the media recently, with broadcasters such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, along with government ministers, committed to doubling the number of disabled people involved in television by 2020 to make the industry more inclusive.
In October 2018, the Government announced a £4.2 million fund to help get disabled people into work and close the disability employment gap.
This sentiment was reinforced in December 2018 where the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton called on large companies to reveal the number of disabled employees they had in an effort to build a more inclusive society.
However, Wildgoose has emphasised that a culture of change needs to be implemented.
With 70 percent of discriminatory queries at The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) regarding disability, Wildgoose says that employers are not doing enough to be inclusive to those with a disability.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the employment rate for those with disabilities was 50.7 percent from April – June 2018, in comparison to 81.1 percent for people without disabilities. Wildgoose outlines that if workplaces make changes to become more inclusive, the whole economy would benefit.
In addition, research by the Independent Living Strategy Group has recently found that charging for social care or effectively a ‘disability tax’ has increased substantially over the last two years – sometimes by half. With workplaces not catering for staff with disabilities, there are fewer jobs available for the disabled, resulting in financial hardship.
The Office for National Statistics found people with disabilities have an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, as opposed to the unemployment rate for people without disabilities at 3.4 percent.
Wildgoose’s survey also found that age was the second biggest area of concern regarding inclusion in the workplace at 46.42 percent, potentially leading to dual discrimination for the older generation of disabled people.
The recommendations accepted by the BBC’s Executive Board include: increasing disability in its workforce; including disabled employees in all development and leadership programmes; ensuring recruitment processes and trainee and apprenticeship schemes provide specific support for disabled applicants; and mandate disability awareness training for all team managers.
All these recommendations could be made at any company, notes Wildgoose, and disability needs to be made a top priority.
Upon the publication of the Wildgoose survey results, Michelle Hamilton at MENCAP said: “As a charity that works with people who have a learning disability, Watford Mencap are familiar with the findings of this survey. The UK is currently enjoying a low unemployment rate, but a disproportionate number of people with disabilities are unsuccessfully seeking work.
“Simple adaptations, robust induction and ongoing access to mentoring and training programmes can provide good pathways for people with disabilities to access the workplace and to become valuable team members.
“Businesses must welcome people with disabilities into their workforce to provide a more equal and inclusive employment landscape.”
Wildgoose is a provider of employee engagement and team events worldwide. From its offices in London, Edinburgh and New York, Wildgoose has delivered over 1,500 unique, motivational and engaging team events a year for over 50,000 participants across 23 countries.