Recruiting and employing disabled staff

The Business Case for Employing Disabled People

There are good business reasons for employing disabled people.

Research shows that:

  • The wider your net is cast when recruiting makes it more likely you will get the right person for the job

  • Employers have found disabled employees stay in the job for longer, and have a strong commitment to work as well as good punctuality records and low absentee records;

  • Keeping an employee who becomes ill or disabled at work generally costs less than having to recruit and train someone new;

  • Employing disabled people can help increase the number of disabled customers using the service, and improve staff morale, since they will view the organisation as more representative and diverse;

  • Adjustments made to help in employing a disabled person can bring benefits for other employees and customers.

Disability Employment Advisers and Disability Service Teams are based in Jobcentres and can offer advice (but not legal advice) and practical assistance with employing disabled people. You will find the address and telephone number of your local Jobcentre in the telephone directory.

In addition, adopting good practice and complying with the duties and requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act reduces the risk of costly litigation and bad publicity. These can be bottom line benefits, and throughout this site you will see real examples of the business case for employing disabled people.

Facts and figures

Disabled people have abilities, skills and experience to use at work.

  • There are over 8.5 million disabled people in the UK, all of whom are potential customers.

  • It is estimated that disabled people spend around £40 billion a year on goods and services.

  • There are over two million disabled people in employment in the UK.

  • And, there are well over a further one million disabled people who want jobs but are out of work – many are skilled and with the same qualities as those who have jobs.

  • Disability is too often associated with wheelchairs but only 5% of disabled people use wheelchairs.

  • Disabled people are no more likely to be generally ill than their non-disabled colleagues.

  • The Employers’ Forum on Disability quotes the average cost of adjustment for employers in the USA as no more than £200. More importantly they have found that two-thirds of adjustments cost nothing.

The costs of making adjustments are often very small, and there is financial and practical help available to employers from a range of sources to help improve access and facilities for disabled people. See the page in this article on advice on disability and funding for employers.

As well as considering adaptations to your workplace, you could consider employing disabled people as homeworkers – see the guide on employees working from home. In many cases, their homes will already be equipped to meet their needs.

Business Advice – Recruiting & Employing Disabled Staff
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