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Only 20% of firms set disability targets

Only one in five (20%) employers set targets for the number of disabled employees they would like, according to research from the Business Disability Forum (BDF).

The report, State of the Nation: Retaining and Developing Employees with Disabilities, found that number was even lower in the public sector, at just 7%.

However, public sector employers are more likely than private sector employers to have employee networks for their staff with disabilities (80% compared with 50%), and to take account of differences in employee engagement scores between workers with disabilities and those without (75% compared with 50%).

The study reported a lack of skilled and confident line managers as a major barrier to the retention of employees with disabilities. A lack of targeted development opportunities and recruitment practices, and not enough awareness of disability in the workplace were also cited.

Director of policy, services and communications for BDF, George Selvanera said: “As inclusive and open-minded employers, we have a responsibility to ensure recruitment processes are accessible to all and that everyone is made to feel equal and valued in the workplace."

He added: “It is only once we break down these barriers and dispel the myths surrounding disability that we will reap the countless business benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce.”

CEO of BDF partner de Poel Community, Matthew Sanders said the focus should be on “visibility, instilling confidence in your line managers, consistency in key policies, a flexible workplace adjustment process and providing targeted development opportunities".

“For any business – whether you are a small organisation or large blue chip, local or UK-wide, operating in the private, public or third sector – you can make a huge difference in the retention and development of disabled employees,” he added.