The employment rates of disabled people

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Department for Work and Pensions Research Reports


Publication date

June 1, 2006


Everyone knows that disabled people are less likely to have a job than non-disabled people. But what is it that distinguishes between disabled people in and out of work?
Policies designed to reduced the number of non-working disabled people have been under almost continuous discussion since the early 1990s. Yet we know remarkably little about the nature of their impairments, and the interaction between those impairments and their chances of working.
The main aim of the research reported here has been to unpack the large group of 'disabled people', to show that they are not all in the same labour market position. It uses the Health and Disability Survey (HDS) attached to the Family Resources Survey (FRS) to provide a detailed analysis of the influences on disabled people's employment probabilities, and to compare them with the position of non-disabled people.
The paper analyses variations in disabled people's prospects in the light of their demographic characteristics, their economic opportunities, and the details of their impairments. It illustrates the wide range of employment disadvantages faced by disabled people, and shows that they cannot easily be divided between 'those who can work', and 'those who cannot'.





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