Poppy Factory, Richmond

Tackling the disability employment gap

Start date: 04 December 2018
End date: 04 March 2019

Key facts

London’s employment rate is at historically high levels. However, the employment rate for disabled Londoners was only 51.4 per cent in 2017. That's 27 percentage points below the rate for all Londoners (age 16 to 64). And while more disabled people are in employment as a proportion of the total than in 2007, the disability employment gap has barely moved in a decade.

The Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Strategy points to a number of underlying factors that may be impeding disabled Londoners in their search for suitable employment. These include:

  • People with disabilities on average have lower level qualifications. Around a fifth of Londoners with a disability have a qualification at NVQ Level 4+, compared to around a half of those without.
  • People with disabilities are more likely to be working part time, if they are in employment.
  • Almost a quarter of disabled people have never used the internet, compared to 4.9% of non-disabled people.

Find out more about the Mayor's Skills for Londoners Strategy

The Economy Committee on a visit to the Poppy Factory, Richmond, where they were investigating the disability employment gap

Aims of the investigation

  1. Identify the challenges of getting a disabled person into work and keeping them employed - from the perspective of the employer and the potential employee.
  2. Identify the points in someone’s journey into work when support is likely to be most effective.
  3. Highlight effective initiatives and assess whether the Mayor’s current initiatives are delivering for disabled people.
  4. Propose concrete steps that the Mayor can take to support disabled people and the organisations that help them access the labour market. 

Get involved

If you have disabilities and have encountered difficulties trying to obtain work, tell us about your experience. Please email [email protected]. You can also follow the Committee's work using #EconomyDisability. Here are five question's we'd particularly like to hear about.

  1. What are the challenges faced by disabled people when seeking employment in London?
  2. What support do disabled people need during their journey to employment?
  3. What is the initial assessment of the impact of the Government's Work And Health programme in getting people back to work in London?
  4. Are there any recent examples of good, innovative practice in supporting disabled people into work – either among employers or employment support providers?
  5. What support could the Mayor give to employment support providers to help disabled people access the labour market? What support could he provide to disabled people directly?