UK employees still believe that disabilities are holding individuals back from developing their careers


More than a third (37%) of UK workers believe disability is still a barrier to career progression, despite anti-discrimination legislation. Research by PMI Health Group, part of Willis Towers Watson, found that nearly one in five (17%) also claimed employers fail to make adequate provisions to accommodate their, or their colleagues’, disabilities.

“Companies have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, to ensure employees with disabilities are not disadvantaged in the workplace,” said Mike Blake, Director at PMI Health Group.

“In light of these findings, it would be advisable for businesses to ensure they are not falling foul of this legislation. Deploying pre-placement questionnaires that are reviewed by an occupational health professional gives employers the information they need to make reasonable adjustments from the outset. Physical assessments can be carried out by occupational health physicians if more detailed information is required.”

The government has set a target of halving the disability employment gap, which currently stands at 33% according to analysis of ONS Labour Market Statistics. Furthermore, as the disability employment gap inquiry finds - this is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry

“Health and wellbeing initiatives, including the services available through group income protection and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), can help in establishing a more disability-friendly workplace so companies can attract and retain skilled staff from this important demographic,” added Blake.

“Health and wellbeing initiatives that facilitate early medical intervention for mental and physical conditions can play an important role in establishing a more disability-friendly workplace and reducing incidents of long-term sickness absence.”