Leading UK employers, including Barclays, Fujitsu and Sainsbury’s, have pledged to increase employment opportunities for new and existing disabled staff and develop good practice around disabled people in their workforces.
Their commitment came on 28 January, as latest employment statistics showed there were now 250,000 more disabled people in work in Britain this year compared to last and the disability employment rate increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to September 2014 – the largest year-on-year rise in a decade.
There are now 3.1 million disabled people in employment, around 46 per cent of the total, compared with 79 per cent of those without disabilities.
Minister of State for Disabled People Mark Harper said: “More and more companies across the country are waking up to the considerable talents of disabled people in the workplace. Indeed, evidence shows that disabled people tend to stay in a job for longer, have a strong commitment to their employer and experience lower rates of absenteeism.
“Disabled people make a vital contribution to our labour market, as well as being uniquely able to help employers make connections with disabled customers. Shutting out disabled people isn’t just unacceptable discrimination, it’s bad business.”
The spending power of disabled customers is estimated at around £212 billion a year and the government says many employers have found that a strong presence of disabled staff has helped them connect with disabled customers.
Access to Work provides financial support towards the extra costs faced by disabled people who are looking for work or need support to stay in their job. Last year it helped more than 35,500 disabled people in mainstream employment.