Having created an in-depth report for the second year in a row on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Walters People continue to address the imbalance and complex matters to do with gender, sexuality, and disability in the workplace, and how disproportionately affected the disabled community are as employees.
As we focus purely on the diversity and inclusion in the workplace for those with disabilities, the key findings of the recent report will be highlighted and reflected upon by The Kaleidoscope Group, a contributor to the report and platform empowering disabled employees and entrepreneurs.
Disability Representation in the Workplace
One in five people have a disability, with the latest UK government figures showing that of the 7.7 million disabled people of working age, only 4.1 million (53.6%) are currently in work, in comparison to 81.7% of those who are not disabled, (with Ireland having the lowest employment rates for people with disabilities), due to issues within businesses around inclusion, barriers to progression and workplace experience discussed within the report.
Disabled Employees and Progression
The Walters Report found that a shocking 47% of disabled professionals do not think their pay is an accurate reflection of their work, in comparison to just 35% of non-disabled employees. In addition, 22% more disabled professionals in comparison to non-disabled professionals said that the lack of diversity in their industry has made it more difficult for them to progress, and 36% of disabled professionals feeling that there is a lack of training or development on offer to help them progress.
Sam B, Head of Talent Acquisition and Client Relations at The Kaleidoscope Group explains, “Whilst it is proven that people with disabilities are more loyal and take fewer sick days than employees without disabilities, the soft skills and experience that people with disabilities have continues to be under-valued during businesses’ hiring, retention and promotion processes. People with disabilities may already be underemployed in an organisation.
“In addition, they may have had barriers to the education that businesses formalise as being ‘required’ to be hired into, or to progress into, managerial level positions. They may have lacked access to vocational training, or financial resources. Employers’ perception of disability and discrimination within an organisation, or even digital exclusion from hiring or promotion processes, can negatively impact access to career opportunities. All of these factors can restrict or block fair opportunities to progress.”
With disabled people under-represented in higher-status jobs, this has a knock-on impact on earning potential, as is evidenced by a substantial disability pay gap highlighting that only a third (35%) of disabled professionals are earning above the average national UK salary (£30,000), in comparison to over half (52%) of professionals without a disability.
When being set performance targets, 40% more disabled professionals in comparison to non-disabled professionals said that having performance targets set too high is their biggest progression barrier, with government data supports these findings – this persistent disability pay gap means disabled workers are more likely to be negatively affected by financial stress than non-disabled workers.
Sam at The Kaleidoscope Group continues, “With employers taking a stringent approach to the negotiation conversation, as with female and ethnic minority employees, disabled professionals are locked into being paid less than they deserve throughout their career, undermining efforts to close the disability pay gap.”
Disabled Employees and Management
When looking into disabled people and their experience with management, the Report found that only a third of disabled professionals work at management level or above, and almost a third (31%) of disabled professionals believe that their manager does not take the time to understand their personal circumstances.
While 55% of professionals without a disability say that their organisation has initiatives that help them feel part of a connected community of colleagues, less than half (46%) of professionals with a disability share this opinion. Over a third (35%) do not feel connected, compared to just a quarter (25%) of professionals without a disability. Disabled professionals voiced the need for better social initiatives to be put in place as a way for employers to improve cohesion and were more concerned about this issue than non-disabled professionals.
Michael Green, Head of Marketing at Kaleidoscope Group says, “Given that there are 1.85m disabled people in our world, representing over 23% of our global population, it is a tragic reflection that most corporations under-employ disabled talent, representing only 5% of their work force numbers.
“Cultural changes are needed across businesses, promoting a team to inspire and motivate managers instead of bullying and blaming.”
To find out more about The Kaleidoscope Group, visit: https://www.kaleidoscope.group/