Type of disability ‘greatly’ affects the chances of working

HR Editorial , 02 Dec 2011


Disabled peoples’ chances of being in work vary significantly depending on the type of disability, according to new analysis released today by the Office for National Statistics in advance of tomorrow’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Employment rates in April-June 2011 for people who report themselves with a disability that limits their day-to-day activities vary from 72% for those with skin conditions, disfigurements or allergies to 12% for those with severe learning difficulties. Overall, 46% of disabled people were in work, compared with an employment rate of 76% for those without a disability.

The conditions with the next highest rates of employment after skin conditions were diabetes (62%) and heart, blood pressure or circulatory problems (58%). The conditions with the next lowest employment rates after severe learning difficulties were mental illnesses or nervous disorders (14%) and depression or anxiety (27%).

Approximately 11% of employed disabled people were in jobs requiring low skill, the same percentage as all those working who were not disabled. But the percentage of disabled workers who were in jobs needing high or upper-middle skills was slightly lower than for non-disabled workers - 49% compared with 55%.

The most commonly reported main conditions were related to the back or neck, with 13% of disabled people reporting this, those related to legs or feet (11%), the heart or circulation (11%) and the chest or breathing (10%). In all, 7.1 million people aged 16 to 64,or 18% of the population of that age, were disabled on the DDA basis. But there were regional variations, with 21% of those in both the North East and in Wales being disabled compared with 14% in London.


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