Disabled Workers and Employment Patterns: Evidence from Cases
In discussions of employment-based disability discrimination, it is repeatedly stated that disabled people receive fewer opportunities to become actively involved in employment in a rewarding way. Previous evidence from the UK suggests that they are disadvantaged through their over-representation in low-skilled, low-status jobs (DfEE, 1997), under-representation in managerial and professional occupations (RADAR, 1993) and over-representation in undesirable occupations (Barnes, 1992). Nevertheless, much of this evidence is out of date (i.e. prior to the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995), based on small samples or anecdotal. This empirical paper will update this evidence through a longitudinal analysis of the workforce data of two large UK based organisations, one private sector, one public sector (n=89,000) and (n=8,100 respectively). Statistical patterns within this data reveal that (across both organisations and over most years of analysis) disabled employees are more likely to be paid less, more likely to be in lower grades and less likely to be promoted than non-disabled people. These patterns are surprising in light of additional findings that disabled people are less likely to work part time and more likely to have longer organisational service. Findings will be discussed in relation to previous empirical work, and theories of employment opportunity and discrimination.
Keywords: Disability, Discrimination, Employment, Statistics
Dr Carol Woodhams
Senior Lecturer, Human Resource Management/ Organisational Behaviour Group, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Dr Ardha Danieli
Lecturer in Qualitative Research Methods and Organisational Analysis, Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour Group, Warwick Business School