People with disabilities less likely to get a job

Government intervention needed
  • Deborah Condon

People with disabilities in Ireland are less likely to get a job even if their disability does not create difficulties with everyday activities, a new study has found.

According to the findings, just 31% of working-age people with a disability are in employment, compared to 71% of those without a disability.

The study was commissioned by the National Disability Authority (NDA) and looked at the movement of working-age (20-59) people with disabilities into and out of employment during the period 2010 to 2015.

It found that overall, those with disabilities were more likely to leave employment rather than enter it. In fact, the odds of getting a job were almost four times lower for those with disabilities.

When things like education, gender, age and marital status were taken into account, those with disabilities were still half as likely to enter employment than those without disabilities.

Even after taking into account the severity of the disability and its potential to impact on things like self-care and participation in work, a gap still remained.

Those with intellectual, psychological, emotional or learning disabilities were the least likely to get a job overall.

When it came to leaving a job, those with disabilities were twice as likely to exit employment than those without disabilities.

Exit rates tended to be higher among deaf employees and those with learning, emotional or psychological disabilities.

The study also noted that people living with an adult with a disability were more likely to leave their job, suggesting that the impact of disability on employment reaches beyond the person directly affected.

The researchers emphasised that without specific Government interventions, the percentage of people with a disability in employment is unlikely to change. They calculated that if all people with a disability who wanted to work had a job, around 50% of them would be at work, rather than the current figure of 31%.

"Efforts to ensure jobs for all of those with a disability who want to work need to proceed on two fronts - both increasing the capacity of those not at work to get jobs and ensuring that those currently at work can retain their jobs," commented one of the study authors, Dorothy Watson, of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).



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