Posted 07.10.2021

1 in 5 people in N.Ireland are disabled. Yet, this week the Ulster University's Economic Policy Centre, an independent economic research centre that delivers evidence based research to inform policy development, announced that in 2021 the number of disabled people employed in Northern Ireland is 92,300*. Meaning of those employed (aged 16-64) only 11.3% are people with a disability*.

N.Ireland has the lowest disabled employment rate (39%) of any UK region, and the widest employment rate gap between disabled and non-disabled persons*.

More needs to be done to increase these statistics and ensure that more disabled people are employed, particularly given that so many employers across a range of sectors and recruitment agencies are currently reporting a shortage of labour.

Our Job Match team helps disabled people to find and stay in paid work, and helps employers to find skilled candidates

Disability Action's Job Match Manager Anne Reid said: 

Our recent Job Match employer survey showed that 90% of our employers experienced some sort of difficulty accessing the right staff with the right skills during 2020-2021 due to COVID-19. Through our Job Match programme we were able to help them to find suitable candidates. 

During lockdown and the difficult and challenging 2020-2021 year, 102 disabled people enrolled on Job Match and from April this year we have seen 60% of participants progressing into a range of paid roles with all sizes of employers throughout N.Ireland.

Our team’s support doesn’t stop when a participant leaves Job Match; we provide an additional period of pastoral support to help them to sustain their job. As a result, we continue to grow the numbers of people in sustained jobs six months after leaving Job Match – currently nearly 50%.

Our Job Match team can help employers with:

  • Recruitment Planning
  • Finding Candidates
  • Advice on support on reasonable adjustments of the recruitment and selection process
  • Ongoing support for employers and new disabled employees

We are consistently meeting employer and participant’s needs. The five step recruitment guide has been designed to help employers to match the right people with the right jobs, achieving positive outcomes for everyone.

Read our brochure on Employing People with Disabilities - A Positive Action Guide for Employers.

Our Workable NI team supports disabled people and their employers in the workplace

We recently carried out a survey of employers who employ disabled people and who we currently support through our Workable NI programme. Almost 86% told us that they are more likely to consider Workable NI as a way to retain or recruit a disabled person.

180+ employers across N.Ireland who employ disabled people are benefitting from support and advice through our Workable NI programme. The types of support include:

  • Disability awareness raising
  • Advice and guidance on reasonable adjustments
  • 1-1 job coaching and mentoring
  • Support to source specialised equipment
  • Support to source extra training
  • General advice to help solve disability issues in the workplace

*Source: Ulster University's Economic Policy Centre and Labour Force Survey.