Business leaders say they are not familiar enough with support and costs for disabled workers so are unlikely to hire them. 

Research from recruitment firm PageGroup said a quarter of business leaders admit that their company does not have processes in place to improve disability inequality.

The news comes on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, today.

Twenty three percent of leaders say their biggest barrier is the cost of modifying equipment / technology for disabled employees. While, twenty percent say they’re worried about legal proceedings if disabled hires don’t work out.  

Most concerningly, twenty percent of leaders have a perception that disabled people may lack the right skills.

Steve Ingham is the CEO of PageGroup. He said: “The disabled community has so much potential and untapped talent to offer the workplace. I am confident that many of the disabled individuals I have met are capable of fulfilling the jobs of ‘able-bodied’ workers and in many instances would far exceed the expectations of business leaders and HR managers”

He also talked about his personal experience saying businesses must learn to understand the disabled community:

“As a disabled person in a wheelchair myself, I have seen firsthand the hidden workforce that the disabled community represents and recognise the critical need for businesses to find ways to appeal to this community more and understand the strengths they offer.”  

The findings tie in with research from recruiter Maximus UK which also found business managers are not confident they’re able to provide the right level of support to disabled colleagues.

One in five managers also told Maximus they would know what to do if an employee came to them with an issue related to their mental health

Fourteen percent, meanwhile, said the same for a physical disability. 

Maximus is calling for managers to urgently have the training and resources to help them support disabled employees.

Things have become more inclusive in the past year, as over a third of companies told PageGroup they offered inclusivity training to all their interviewers before meeting potential candidates.

While, 34 percent have altered the language in job adverts to remove gender biased language.

However, PageGroup says there is a drop off when considering policies which directly benefit the disabled community searching for employment. 

Only a quarter have introduced tailored job adverts for people with sight difficulties or adopted ‘text to speech apps’. 

Lenstore, meanwhile, used today to investigate the accessibility of websites to see how easy they were for neuro-divergents or people with visual disabilities.

It found Facebook as the most accessible social media platform, while TikTok ranked 6th. The Mail Online was found to be the least accessible site after analysis of their contrasts, headers and anchor text  – 60 errors were found on the site.

Of the sectors analysed, the health sector was found to be the most accessible for visually impaired users on average.

Margaret McNab, Managing Director of occupational health provider Health Management said employers had a duty of care to support their workforce and make sure they feel  supported:

“That’s why it’s really important that businesses have the right level of information, resource and support in place to allow their management teams to be in a position to fully accommodate any disabled person in their business.