People are not confident disclosing their disability at work won’t have a negative impact, says new research from Leonard Cheshire Disability

17 November 2015

Research by ComRes found 59% of adults with a disability or long-term health condition reported feeling disclosing their disability or health condition to a potential employer, whether in their CV or during an interview, would negatively affect their chances of securing a job.

In a survey of more than 400 disabled people and people with a long-term health condition:

  • 59% said they were not confident disclosing their condition to a potential employer would not negatively affect their chances of securing a job
  • 29% said they disagreed they had the same opportunities at work as their non-disabled colleagues
  • 25% said they had suffered discrimination in the work place relating to their disability

 Leonard Cheshire Disability chief executive Clare Pelham said:

‘We know now that when people are open about themselves, and the support they need at work — whether that’s childcare or large font on their emails – that they are happier, more creative and more productive. That is why these figures make frustrating reading. Disabled employees need to feel comfortable that their boss will see their talent first and foremost and not the support they need.  And employers need to make that clearer.’

The research also found 25% of those with a disability or long-term health condition said they had suffered discrimination in the work place relating to their disability or health condition.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) say more than 50% of working age disabled people are either unemployed or outside the labour market.

The research comes as Leonard Cheshire Disability launches a new season of the successful Change100 student employment programme.

The Change100 programme, which has run since 2014, supports talented university students with a disability or a long-term health condition find paid placements over the summer. The programme offers participants support during their time at work, workshops on time-management, practicalities of the first weeks, and how to disclose a disability to an employer.

Businesses currently enrolled on the scheme include SABMiller, Lloyds, DFID, Tate, Taylor Wimpey, Thomson Reuters and production company Wall to Wall.

Ollie Roberts, Director: HR at SABMiller plc, said: ‘We have been delighted with the quality of candidates attracted and the value that they have brought to the organisation. We think that the programme is a great success and look forward to a long relationship with Change100.’

Helena Ely, Head of Production at Wall to Wall productions said:

‘Being involved in Change100 has been a great experience and I would encourage other employers to join the scheme. The standard of candidates is very high and the support given both to the paid interns and employers throughout the process is excellent.’

Angharad Butler-Rees, 22, who was part of 2015’s Change100 intake, said, ‘I always wondered if my disability would prevent me carving out a career for myself. After my placement I am so much more confident because I realised my potential and I could use my skills in many different situation.’

She added: ‘You don’t have to disclose anything at all at work, but it can be helpful for your employer to know if you have a disability, so they can support you. You can even just ask for adjustments, rather than explain everything. It is in an employer’s best interests to give you a work environment which helps you thrive and do your best work.’

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Notes for editors

  • ComRes interviewed 2,068 nationally representative GB adults online aged 18+, 423 of whom have a disability or long term health condition. Respondents were interviewed between 21 and 22 October 2015. Data tables are available at
  • Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. Worldwide, our global alliance of Cheshire partners supports disabled people into education and employment, and works in more than 50 countries. With over 7,500 staff, the charity supports over 7,000 disabled people in the UK. Visit or follow us on Twitter: @leonardcheshire 
  • Change100 is a paid placement national programme set up in 2014 to support talented disabled undergraduates get summer work experience with companies across the UK. It also aims to support businesses have a truly inclusive workforce, where every person is able to contribute economically and participate in society. Find out more at