A recent House of Commons briefing by Andrew Powell provides a position statement on the experiences of disabled people in employment. Click here to find further details.
The paper provides some interesting information which we would like to share. By way of a disclaimer, we need to point out that we have not, given time constraints, had an opportunity to corroborate Mr Powell’s assertions by analysing the data sets upon which he relies. That said, we have no reason to suggest that Mr Powell’s data analysis skills are ineffective in this regard.
In summary, the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people as of March 2019 stands at 29.9%: in January-March 2019, the employment rate for people with disabilities was 51.7% and the rate for people without disabilities was 81.7%. Women are doing slightly better than men – the gap being 26.3% and 33.2% respectively. Importantly, the employment gap stood at 33.8% in 2014 so the most recent figure is used as evidence that employment opportunities are opening up for disabled people.
Less edifying are the differences in employments rates for disabled people in the UK. In January-December 2018 the employment rate was highest for people who were disabled in the South East at 59.0%, and lowest in Northern Ireland at 35.7%. Mr Powell claims that the distribution is largely reflective of the overall employment rates within the regions, although the gap between the highest and lowest is much larger for people who are disabled.
The employment rate was highest for people with disabilities age 25 to 49 (56.4%) though the employment rate was lowest for people with disabilities aged 16- 24 (38.2%). That said, the gap between the employment rate of disabled people aged 16-24 and that of non-disabled people aged 16-24 was the smallest of any age band, at 18.3 percentage points.
To be able to draw firm conclusions we would need to (amongst other things) analyse the definitions used and apply these to the analysis carried out. This aside, it is reasonable for people who are interesting the area of disability and employment to come away with some optimism after reading the report.