POSTED: December 12 2019
Employment among people with disabilities rising but more progress needed

Employment among people with disabilities rising but more progress needed

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the gap in employment between working-age people with and without disabilities is closing but a significant difference still remains.

In 2013, 43.4% of working-age disabled people were employed, compared with 77.6% of non-disabled people representing a gap of 34.2%. By 2019 however the gap fell to 28.6% with 53.2% of working-age disabled people in employment, compared to 81.8% of non-disabled people.

Unemployment among people with disabilities has roughly halved over this period, however it is still double the unemployment rate among people without disabilities.

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation commenting on the figures said: “The employment gap falling over the last six years is good news. It shows that employers are moving from good intentions to making a tangible difference on the disability and wider inclusion agenda.

“There is still a lot more work needed, and ample opportunity, to close the gap further. Initiatives like the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) and the REC’s Good Recruitment Campaign, supported by nearly 500 businesses, are leading the way in breaking down the barriers that people with disabilities face entering and thriving in the world of work.

“Showing businesses practical examples of what works to encourage inclusive recruitment is the right way forward. Recruitment professionals have a pivotal role to play here. Ninety per cent of businesses say that what they are looking for from an external recruitment provider is access to expertise”.

Reflecting on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was on 3 December, Kate Headley, Chair of the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) and Director of the Clear Company, said: “This is a good time for celebrating disability confident recruiters. The industry has an important role to play in making UK workplaces more inclusive of disabled people. Peer to peer networks such as the RIDI 100 will ensure that we share and learn from each other and collectively drive this important agenda forward.”




  1. The full ONS statistics quarterly report can be found here.
  2. The REC’s Good Recruitment Campaign helps businesses champion good recruitment practice. Nearly 500 businesses have signed up to the campaign representing three million UK employees. 



You can read the REC’s press release in full here.