A lack of skilled and confident line managers is a significant barrier to retaining workers with disabilities, new research from Business Disability Forum (BDF) finds.

The research revealed that while disability remains a ‘taboo’ subject in many workplaces, employers who fail to promote targeted development opportunities and awareness are likely to struggle with retaining members of staff with specific needs.

George Selvanera, director of policy, services and communications for BDF, said:

“As inclusive and open-minded employers, we have a responsibility to ensure recruitment processes are accessible to all and that everyone is made to feel equal and valued in the workplace.

“It is only once we break down these barriers and dispel the myths surrounding disability, that we will reap the countless business benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce. BDF is working with businesses to build employer and employee confidence in their retention and development strategies.

In their report, entitled “State of the Nation: Retaining and Developing Employees with Disabilities”, BDF discovered that only 20 percent of the employers set targets for the number of disabled people they would like to have working in their organisation. This number is even lower in the public sector, standing at just seven percent of employers.

The spend on staff turnover in just five sectors costs UK businesses more than £4 billion each year.

The survey of 145 private, public and third sector organisations was supported by de Poel Community, EY, Royal Mail, Lloyds Banking Group, Department for Work and Pensions, Equal Approach and Remploy Employment Services.