Disabled People In Employment

July 7, 2023

Disabled People In Employment

From our colleagues at Barbour EHS.

Published by the House of Commons, this briefing describes the Office of National Statistic’s (ONS) employment statistics for disabled people and the government’s programmes to support disabled people in work.

The number of disabled people in the UK was higher in the first quarter of 2023 than in this quarter in 2022 according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey.

Over the same time frame, the number of disabled people in employment increased, although the employment rate remained at the same level. The number of unemployed disabled people was also unchanged, but the unemployment rate fell.

The employment rate for disabled people was lower than for non-disabled people, and the gap between the rates increased between the first quarter of 2022 and the same quarter in 2023.

There were 9.58 million people of working age (16 to 64) who reported that they were disabled in January to March 2023, which is 23% of the working-age population. This is an increase of 598,000 from the year before.

There were more working-age disabled people in employment in the first quarter of 2023 than a year before.

5.15 million working-age disabled people were in employment in January to March 2023, an increase of 325,000 from October to December 2021.

The employment rate of disabled people was 53.7%, unchanged from a year previously. The employment rate for people who are not disabled was 82.7%.

The number of people with a disability who were unemployed was unchanged in the first quarter of 2023 from the previous year, but the rate of unemployment fell.

In January to March 2023, 342,000 working-age disabled people were unemployed. The unemployment rate for disabled people was 6.2%, down from 6.6% a year previously since the total number of disabled people also increased. The unemployment rate for people who are not disabled was 3.4%.

Government policy

In March 2023, the Government published the Transforming Support white paper with proposals aimed at helping “more disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work”.

The white paper followed a consultation linked to the July 2021 Shaping future support: the health and disability green paper.

Also in July 2021, the Government published its National Disability Strategy, which set out other ways in which it intended to support disabled people to find and stay in work.

The Government says a Disability Action Plan will be consulted on and published in 2023.

The Government had previously set out a 10-year plan on how it intends to get 1 million more disabled people into employment by 2027 in the November 2017 Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability white paper.

This briefing provides an overview of the schemes that the Government has in place to support disabled people to find and stay in work.

House of Commons
June 2023

Our Comment

This report illustrates the importance of maintaining focus in this area. Overall, employing disabled people is not only a matter of social justice but also brings numerous benefits to organizations and society. By embracing diversity and creating inclusive workplaces, workplaces will be more equitable, innovative, and profitable.


At William Martin, we bring unparalleled health & safety expertise and powerful technology to the table. Whatever your sector and wherever you are, we give you the support you need to keep compliant, strong, and successful.

This content has been produced in association with our sister company, Barbour.

For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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