Publish disability figures, urges charity

Scope is calling on other organisations to join it in reporting disability figures, so that employees can get the workplace support they need

“Information on disability is crucial for employers to understand what action they need to take to recruit and retain disabled people,” said Anna Bird, executive director of policy and research at disability equality charity Scope.

Speaking to HR magazine, Bird said it’s vital that organisations monitor and publish data about the proportion of their workforce who are disabled and their experiences in the workplace. “We frequently hear from disabled people about difficulties they face getting into and staying in work, from negative attitudes and inaccessible recruitment processes to inflexible workplaces and difficulties getting adjustments," she said.

“We know organisations that recognise disabled talent will thrive, so it’s crucial that they ensure disabled people can apply for jobs with them and get the support they need to progress in the workplace.”

Last week Scope became the first employer to publicly report on the experiences of disabled employees, in line with the government’s new voluntary reporting framework on disability, mental health and wellbeing. Scope's Disability and Wellbeing Report revealed that 17% of respondents to its 2018 staff survey had an impairment, condition or identified as disabled, up 3% from its 2017 survey.

This proportion is broadly in line with that of working-age disabled people across the UK (18.6%) and higher than the percentage of working-age disabled people currently in work (11.4%).

The government introduced the voluntary reporting framework in November 2018 as a first step towards greater employer transparency. It recommends that employers report the percentage of people with a disability within the organisationand provide a narrative on what they are doing to recruit and retain disabled people.

Scope said it will publish a guide on corporate reporting for other organisations later this month, as part of a campaign to urge other businesses to comply with the framework.

“We recognise that other organisations may feel they face challenges monitoring and reporting their disability data. That’s why we’re publishing a user-friendly guide to corporate reporting for businesses later this month, to support organisations to comply with the framework," said Bird.

“There are lots of ways employers can encourage a positive culture around disability – such as providing disability equality training to all staff, running sessions so disabled staff can share their experiences with colleagues, and celebrating diversity in their workplace.”

The charity is also looking into pay reporting on disability, Bird added: “Scope has been calling for greater corporate transparency for a long time. When the voluntary reporting framework was introduced in November it was a positive step, but it’s only as good as the number of businesses who come forward to report.

“We know that disabled people also face barriers to progression. In future reports Scope intends to publish an analysis of pay and disability, and would encourage other businesses to do the same.”