Almost half (45%) of people with a disability have avoided sharing their disability due to the belief it would stall their progression at work or affect promotion.
Also, over a third (38%) of the nation have highlighted a need for more education on the correct way to talk about disability.
This is according to new research by Samsung UK, which also shows that 70 percent of people with disabilities feel that their workplace could do more to provide tech that enables greater accessibility.
Also, 41 percent say they would conceal their challenges from work colleagues due to the fear of being judged and made to feel like an outsider.
The findings show that we are a nation uncomfortable talking about disabilities, with nearly half of the population (45%) admitting to not feeling comfortable saying the word ‘disabled’ or ‘disability’ in everyday conversations, creating a feeling of taboo about a condition that affects 14 million people in the UK.
What are the everyday challenges faced by people with disabilities at work?
- Being negatively stereotyped / judged by colleagues (34%)
- Lack of quiet areas in the office (33%)
- General accessibility, e.g., stairs, or space requirements (32%)
- Lack of support (31%)
- Bathroom access / availability (30%)
- Getting into office building (29%)
What is missing?
When it comes to accessibility in the workplace, almost two thirds (70%) felt their workplace is not providing the tech that enables greater accessibility to people with disabilities, showing the need for greater access and awareness of accessible technology features amongst employers.
What can businesses do to be more inclusive?
Founder and CEO of disability and inclusion marketing agency Purple Goat, co-founder of lifestyle magazine Disability Horizons and LinkedIn Changemaker, Martyn Sibley, offers tips:
- Knowing 20 percent of the UK population has a disability, seek to represent this across all stakeholders and levels of hierarchy e.g., embed this throughout recruitment, leadership, and marketing.
- Speak to people with disabilities about barriers and solutions. The community should lead – always remember there can be nothing about us, without us.
- Disability is not only relatable to wheelchair users and accessibility does not mean expensive. Aim for perfection, but approach with kindness. Equally, just start disability inclusion where possible today – be the change you want to see.
- Build a culture where colleagues and employers champion disability inclusion and encourage allyship in the business.
- Never make assumptions.
Head of Category Management, Samsung Electronics UK & Founder of Employee Resource Group for those with disabilities, True Ability, Steven Woodgate:
“I have dyslexia and dyspraxia, they are my superpowers that enable me to provide a different perspective and way of thinking that adds value to my day-to-day role and to the people around me. Physical and neurodiversity should be championed in the workplace and employers need to support this by providing the right tools and technology to allow colleagues with disabilities to thrive, contribute on a level playing field, and to reveal their own individual superpower.
“But technology is only half the story. To embrace openness, we need to evolve and change workplace culture, and promote inclusion to be at the centre of an organisation to empower employees.”