A million disabled people in the UK can and want to work but are unemployed. An Opinium survey of 2,000 disabled people for Scope found that when applying for jobs only half of applications result in an interview. This is compared with 69% for non-disabled applicants. Disabled applicants also apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people. Thats on average 8 applications compared with 5.
More than a third (37%) of disabled people who don’t feel confident about getting a job think employers won’t hire them because of their condition.
Employer bias against disabled candidates
The findings show that unemployed disabled people looking for work have lost faith with the recruitment process. Two in five don’t feel confident about their chances of getting a job in the next six months.
Of those, more than a quarter (27%) believe they are less likely to be hired than a non-disabled candidate. Whilst a third (38%) are concerned they will be seen as a “risky” hire.
As a result, more than half of disabled people have applied for jobs they know they are overqualified for. A third saying they did so because they felt their disability makes them a less attractive candidate.
‘Work With Me’: Supporting disabled people to get into and stay in work
Virgin Media is funding Scope’s new digital employment support service for disabled people. The partnership ambition is to reach one million disabled people with employment information and support by the end of 2020, so they can get into work, stay in work and realise their career ambitions.
Virgin media has been working with Scope to look at its workplaces, policies and practices. As a result it is now taking steps to improve how it supports disabled employees. This includes the training it gives to managers, as well as access to buildings and practical measures such as reasonable adjustments.
The company has also tried to improve the experience of disabled customers. It has increased training for staff so they can offer appropriate help and support, and ensuring accessibility features are built into all new products and services.
Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at disability charity Scope, said:
“Disabled people with all the skills to do the job are being repeatedly passed over for roles, while others are being forced to apply for jobs which they know they are overqualified for.
Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO, said:
“Working with Scope has been eye-opening and we’ve had to face some hard truths to better understand and address the challenges disabled people face.
“It’s inspired us to launch the ‘Work With Me’ campaign with Scope. Together, we’re asking industry, Government and the public to join us and support more disabled people get into and stay in work.
You can find out more about ‘Work With Me’ here.