Number of working people with disability up 1.3 million in five years

The government has achieved its goal of seeing 1m more disabled people in employment well in advance of its 2027 target, but a disability group says more needs to be done to close the employment gap.

The number of disabled people in work in Jan to March 2022 was 4.8m, an increase of 460k since Jan to March 2021.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of the Business Disability Forum, said the government needed to set new and ambitious targets that considered the barriers disabled people faced at work.

“Reaching this milestone is an achievement. But we need to dig into the figures to understand how many of the 1m are new or returning entrants to the job market vs how many represent disabled people who have remained in work thanks to better interventions and support or who now feel able to identify as disabled in the workplace, perhaps for the first time,” she said.

Lightfoot said cultural change within organisations was also needed to help more people with disabilities bring their whole selves to work and be open about their health conditions and the support they need.
“That these cultures are being created, or worked towards, is in itself cause for celebration,” she said.

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