Stat of the day: The most ’employable’ impairment groups

By Angela Matthews

I’ve been looking at – put crudely – the most employable types of conditions and impairments. This is partly due to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) recent report on disabled people’s experiences of barriers to employment. The report is quite data-heavy (which is great fun – really) and looks and 2012 labour force data. Although the EHRC are not using much data that we haven’t seen before, their analysis and explanations are wonderfully in-depth.

The data shows that the two largest impairment groups in employment are skin conditions/allergies (71 per cent) and diabetes (70 per cent). We perhaps don’t need the data to tell us which two groups are most represented in unemployment – learning difficulties (13 per cent) and depression/bad nerves (12 per cent). When we look at economic inactivity (i.e. those not in employment and not looking for or available to work) mental illness comes out worst, with 70 per cent being economically inactive. Progressive illness and learning disabilities come joint second at 52 per cent.

For those who like pretty data charts and colours, the proportions of employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity within each impairment group can be compared:

Comparison chart showing the employment rates of people with different disabilities

For those with learning difficulties and mental illness who are employed, the type of employment tends to be – according to the report – “unskilled, ‘routine’ jobs”. Of the disabled people who are unemployed, the most common reasons for this were cited as the disability or condition itself, lack of job opportunities, and difficulty with transport. Additionally, above lack of experience/qualifications, lack of confidence, and attitudes of employers/colleagues, the disability or condition itself was the main barrier experienced by disabled people in all economic groups – whether they are employed, unemployed, or economically inactive.

If you have any questions or if the chart isn’t accessible, please let me know.

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