Since the beginning of the recession in 2008 the proportion of Scottish working age disabled people in employment has fallen to just over 42%. In comparison the employment rate of non-disabled people now stands at around 80%.
Lots of disabled people want to work and are able to work. Yet there are many barriers to getting into work, staying in work and getting on in work. These include attitudes, inaccessible work places and inflexible working practises and a lack of support for disabled people and employers or lack of knowledge about the support that does exist.
In A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People the Scottish Government have committed to reducing barriers to employment for disabled people and to reduce by at least half, the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the working age population. To halve the gap 60% of disabled people of working age need to be in work. The Scottish Government believe this will be achieved by supporting 277,000 disabled people to remain in employment and 121,000 disabled people to enter employment.
Disabled people have said that the model of employment support in Scotland needs to meet their aspirations for not just a job but career progression, be based on evidence, be fit for the future and serve more disabled people across Scotland than it does at present. We need to meet the aspirations of young disabled people, those who become disabled whilst in work and older people who may acquire a disability in the future.
Disabled people shared their employment stories ahead of our Summit ‘Situations Vacant: Employerablity and Disabled People’s Right to Work’ (January 2018) in our #myworkstory social media campaign. You can read their stories on Twitter and on our Instagram.
We will publish the report of the Summit shortly, including disabled people’s solutions to the barriers preventing us from working. We will share this report with the First Minister in April at a national Congress.