Three in five (60%) UK employees with a disability have experienced bias in the workplace, according to research from Badenoch and Clark.
Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace surveyed 2,012 workers and found that only 35% of those without a disability had experienced such bias. Perhaps as a result of these challenges, more than half (51%) of those with a physical disability said that they attempted to hide their condition from employers when applying for a job, with that figure increasing to 60% when it came to those suffering from a mental health issue.
Two-thirds (65%) of those with a mental disability and 45% of those with a physical disability believe their organisation does not offer an inclusive environment. This is having a clear impact on retention, as half (48%) of disabled candidates had either left a job or not applied for a role or promotion because of workplace bias in comparison with just one in five (20%) of those without a disability.
Nicola Linkleter, president of professional staffing at Badenoch and Clark, warned of the effect this could be having on businesses. “Organisations need to realise that poor inclusion practices are bad for business – almost half of disabled candidates have either left a job or not applied for a role or promotion because of workplace bias,” she said. “In the UK today 16% of working age adults have a disability, 15% of which have a degree. With skills shortages an undeniable threat employers need to start viewing candidates with disabilities as untapped talent.
She added that there are steps employers can take to improve their offering for disabled workers. “We’d like to see more employers taking the initiative to remove workplace barriers, developing attraction and retention strategies that capture an underrepresented talent pool, and working with universities and recruitment consultancies to advise disabled students on how to interview confidently,” she said.