Mind the disability employment gap

16 October 2015

Ciaran Osborne

by Ciaran Osborne

What does work mean to you? Tell us the three things which come to mind when you think about work.

Disability in the workplace can be a controversial topic. Some people think disabled people should work more. Some people think disabled people can’t work at all. And others think there are some jobs disabled people just can’t do.

But when we talk to disabled people, and look at what disabled people are achieving across the world every day, the reality is much more complex.

Work means different things to different people. For some, being disabled makes it harder to work — or to progress in work. For some, disability is at the very core of the work they do.

For example, Philip is a town planner, but because he can’t find an accessible home in the same place as his next job opportunity, his career has been in arrested development for years.

Then there’s Dan Eley, who broke his back while working with deprived children in Colombia. He has since founded a charity offering apprenticeship-style training schemes for children living in poverty in Colombia and Latin America.

And there’s me, a type 1 diabetic. Working somewhere where I can take my medication at my desk without funny looks, and rely on someone to grab me a can of coke if I have a hypo, is a real plus.

What does work mean to you?

But we know that disabled people are less likely to be employed than non-disabled people at all age groups. Recently the government has committed to halve the disability employment gap and we think this is one of the most ambitious and positive commitments for disabled people in recent decades. We want to make sure this happens.

We think work means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And we’d like to know what it means to you.

Your words will help us to speak up and keep the government on track to halve the disability employment gap.

Let us know the three things which come to mind when you think about work.

Ciaran Osborne is policy and campaigns manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability.


When I was diagnosed with major epilepsy at age 18 years, it was a death sentence for me. The public is negative enough about the whole topic of 'Infirmity and Society'. They cannot cope with illness especially long term illness.

Various awful governments have attacked people with illnesses. Alas, human nature has not changed. The attacks go on.

I survived. Never truly lived but survive, one day at a time. Fearful that there will be no pension or any money or even a safe home. So far have the rories dismantled the wonderful post war benefits.

I am a disabled person who has a hidden disability that wants to do more to help others that are less fortunate than myself. And would like to get more involved in campaigning and want to try to change this governments attitudes towards disabilities, As they don,t live in the same world as what we do,I am very passionate about how I can change policies and the way people with disabilities are now being treated since the on set of AUSTERITY and the way organisations have changed from management to HR, It as if we have gone back twenty years and the way attitudes have followed to one of negativity towards those that have disabilities both in the community and in the work place.

Add new comment