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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Employer discrimination shutting disabled people out of jobs market, report

Written by Alan Jones

Disabled people are being "shut out" of the jobs market in huge numbers because of the discrimination they face when looking for work, according to a new report.

A survey of 2,000 disabled people for the charity Scope found that only half are given an interview when applying for jobs compared with 69% for non-disabled applicants.

Disabled people apply for 60% more jobs than others, while more than a third of those who do not feel confident about getting a job believe employers will not hire them because of their impairment or condition, the research found.

Scope has joined with Virgin Media to launch the #WorkWithMe campaign to support more disabled people to get into and stay in work.

The research findings showed that disabled people who are unemployed and looking for work have lost faith with the recruitment process, as two in five do not feel confident about their chances of getting a job in the next six months.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: "We have a huge amount of work to do to tackle the disability employment gap. At the current pace of change, the Government is set to fail on its pledge to get a million more disabled people into work.

"Disabled people with all the skills to do the job are being repeatedly passed over for roles, while others are being forced to apply for jobs which they know they are overqualified for.

"Employers are missing out on the talent they badly need because they do not have the right support in place or because of outdated attitudes towards disability."

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media's chief executive, said: "Working with Scope has been eye-opening and we've had to face some hard truths to better understand and address the challenges disabled people face.

"It's inspired us to launch the campaign with Scope.

"Together, we're asking industry, Government and the public to join us and support more disabled people get into and stay in work."

Virgin Media is funding Scope's new digital employment support service for disabled people.

The aim is to reach one million disabled people with employment, information and support by the end of 2020.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Almost 600,000 disabled people have entered work in the last four years.

"We've already increased the number of Disability Employment Advisors in jobcentres and our Disability Confident scheme is working directly with employers to help transform attitudes and open up their recruitment to disabled applicants.

"But we know there is more to do to ensure disabled people are able to enjoy the benefits good work can bring.

"That's why we consulted through our Work and Health Green Paper and we will update on the next steps this Autumn."

Brian Gale, director of policy and campaigns at the National Deaf Children's Society, commented: "As this important research makes clear, Government, businesses and society as a whole all have a long way to go until people with disabilities have true equality of opportunity in the workplace.

"We need to shine a spotlight on injustices that deaf and disabled people face when applying for jobs.

"But equally, we need to champion those who are blazing a trail for inclusive employment practices, and show how simple changes in the workplace can make an enormous difference to the lives of people with disabilities."

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