October 25, 2017

People with a disability have to apply for 60% more jobs

People with a disability have to apply for 60% more jobs

Disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs before they find work, a study by UK charity Scope finds.

A survey of 2,000 disabled people found that 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared with 69% for non-disabled applicants.

The study has prompted warnings that disabled people are being “shut out of the jobs market.”

Government figures show there are one million disabled people in the UK who want to and are able to work but are currently not employed.

37% of disabled people who don’t feel confident about getting a job believe that employers won’t hire them due to their disability, the study found.

Two in five unemployed disabled people who are looking for a job do not feel confident about their chances of finding a job in the next six months, with 27% of those believing they are less likely to be hired than a non-disabled candidate.

The result of this is that more than half of disabled people have applied for jobs they know they are overqualified for. One in three of those said they did so because they felt their disability made them a less attractive candidate than non-disabled candidates.

One example is Lauren Pitt, 24, who registered blind after losing her sight age 13 due to a genetic condition. It took her nine months, 250 applications, four telephone interviews, and three face-to-face interviews to get into work despite having a degree, three A-levels, and nine GCSEs. She has also done a lot of public speaking, fundraising, and youth work volunteering, and so did not expect it to be so difficult to get a job.

“People would ask me for telephone interviews and then after I said I was visually impaired, nothing would come of it…I was applying for fundraising, public speaking and admin work—jobs I knew I could do, but if and when I got to a face-to-face interview, it felt like employers weren’t looking at the skills that I have, but my disability, and asking ‘how would you be able to do this job?’”

In Europe, about one in eight people of working age report having a disability; that is, the prevalence of a long-term limiting health condition.

In her article, Disability and labor market outcomes, Melanie Jones writes “The prevalence of disability, combined with its substantial labor market disadvantage, makes the design of effective policy critical for reducing its negative social and economic consequences. However, this process is complicated by difficulties in measuring disability and in distinguishing its influence on productivity and preferences for work from employer discrimination. Recognizing that the experience of disability varies by type, severity, and duration may nevertheless facilitate a more flexible and tailored approach to policy, which provides the necessary incentives and support to work for those who are able.”

For more information, visit our workplace discrimination key topics page or get in touch with one of our Topic Spokespeople.