Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

One million more disabled people in employment than five years ago

Over one million more disabled people are in employment compared to five years ago, according to the latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) data.

The latest figures show the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.3 million since 2017, yet some campaigners are concerned the figures mask the lower levels of employment for some disabilities. 

CEO Diane Lightfoot, CEO of the Business Disability Forum (BDF), told HR magazine that although the rapid progress should be celebrated, there is a much bigger picture at stake

She said: “Before the target of one million more disabled people in work was set, the government’s stated ambition was to halve the disability employment gap. We would encourage a return to this more ambitious target.

“The figures for some groups are much lower. Fewer than 6% of working age adults with learning disabilities are in employment, for example. Employers have an important role to play in ensuring work is inclusive of a variety of disabilities.”  

The National Autistic Society said this although was a good start, the latest ONS stats suggest fewer than one in three autistic people work and it wouldn’t “rest until the Autism Employment Gap is closed”.

Greater accessibility and inclusion for disabled jobseekers

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said: “This is an important milestone showing our commitment to supporting disabled people to lead independent lives and reach their full potential.

“Ensuring everyone has the same opportunity for a fulfilling working life is a key part of levelling up the country and we will continue to push for greater accessibility and inclusion for disabled jobseekers.”

Over the next three years, the government will invest £1.3 billion in employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions. This money will go toward building up existing provision, including expanding employment support, to grow the economy and help people with the cost of living.

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