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Employers Attitudes to Disabled People

Yesterday saw the publication of a qualitative evaluation by DWP into the behaviour of employers during recruitment with regard to employing disabled people. It's not a huge study (60 interviews) but may provide some insight for people in the welfare to work sector who are supporting people with health problems or disabilites into work.

  • The principle concern of SME employers was to find someone who they perceived could ‘do the job’ to ensure their business need was met with the overarching imperative of delivering a company profit.
  • Successful candidates were chosen based on employers’ perception of: their ability to work flexibly and adapt to different roles; competence; reliability; stability in their private life; employment history; proximity to work; work ethic; personality; and honesty.
  • The main uncertainties employers had around employing disabled people was their perception of the (un)suitability of the built environment, risks to productivity, negative impact on staff from any loss to productivity and the risk of harm to the disabled person, staff and/or customers.
  • Employers perceived greater difficulties in employing people with fluctuating health conditions but were found to lack knowledge about specific health conditions and relevant legislation which may have impacted upon their ability to judge the suitability of a disabled applicant in a given role.
  • Employers were more willing to accommodate changes in contracted hours rather than the tasks involved in a role to facilitate the employment of disabled people.
  • Awareness of the Department’s existing policy levers to support the employment of disabled people was low. When asked about specific policies many thought levers such as the use of job brokers, work trials and financial assistance to fund adaptations could be potentially useful in overcoming the uncertainties SME employers harbour towards recruiting disabled people.

Click here to download the full report.


16 September 2011

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