People feel disclosing disability at work may have a negative impact

17 November 2015

New research shows 59% of adults with a disability or long-term health condition feel disclosing it to a potential employer would negatively affect their chances of securing a job.

In a survey of more than 400 people with a disability or health condition:

  • 59% were not confident disclosing their condition to a potential employer, whether in their CV or during an interview, would not negatively affect their chances of securing a job
  • 29% disagreed they had the same opportunities at work as their non-disabled colleagues
  • 25% had suffered discrimination in the workplace relating to their disability

‘We know now that when people are open about themselves, and the support they need at work — whether that’s childcare or large font on their emails — that they are happier, more creative and more productive.

‘That is why these figures make frustrating reading. Disabled employees need to feel comfortable that their boss will see their talent first and foremost and not the support they need.  And employers need to make that clearer.’ — Clare Pelham, chief executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability

More than 50% of working age disabled people are either unemployed or outside the labour market, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Change100 open for 2016

The research comes as we launch a new season of the successful Change100 student employment programme.

Change100 supports talented university students or recent graduates with a disability or a long-term health condition find paid placements over the summer.

The programme offers participants support during their time at work, workshops on time-management, practicalities of the first weeks, and how to disclose a disability to an employer.

Businesses currently enrolled on the scheme include SABMiller, Lloyds, DFID, Tate, Taylor Wimpey and Thomson Reuters.

‘We have been delighted with the quality of candidates attracted and the value that they have brought to the organisation. We think that the programme is a great success and look forward to a long relationship with Change100.’ — Ollie Roberts, Director: HR, SABMiller plc

Production company Wall to Wall is also one of the companies taking part.

‘Being involved in Change100 has been a great experience and I would encourage other employers to join the scheme. The standard of candidates is very high and the support given both to the paid interns and employers throughout the process is excellent.’ — Helena Ely, Head of Production, Wall to Wall

Angharad Butler-Rees, 22, was part of Change100 in 2015.

‘I always wondered if my disability would prevent me carving out a career for myself. After my placement I am so much more confident because I realised my potential and I could use my skills in many different situation.’ — Angharad

Find out more about Change100.

Research details

On our behalf, ComRes interviewed 2,068 nationally representative British adults online aged 18 or over, 423 of whom have a disability or long-term health condition. Respondents were interviewed between 21 and 22 October 2015. Data tables are available on the ComRes website.