New research highlights the lack of inclusion that employees with disabilities feel within the workplace in comparison to other colleagues.

According to new research by Accenture, a global professional services company, employees with disabilities feel significant less included at work.

The data shows that employees that have a disability are 80 per cent more likely to feel excluded whilst at work in comparison to other colleagues. Additionally, this group have also reported being a quarter less likely (24 per cent) to feel included in the workplace.

The research further highlights the significant disparity between what employees with disabilities want to see within the workplace and what actually happens at work.

Almost four-fifths (77 per cent) of workers with disabilities reported that they wanted the freedom to be the same person at work as they were at home. Furthermore, around two-thirds (67 per cent) wanted to see people like themselves within senior positions.

However, the reality was starkly different. Around six in 10 (61 per cent) of employees and four-fifths (80 per cent) of executives reported that they are not fully open about their disability, suggesting organisations still have more work to do to ensure these employees feel supported and comfortable in being transparent about who they are.

There were also differing views regarding whether companies are currently meeting the needs of employees with disabilities.

Whilst almost six in 10 (59 per cent) employers stated that their technological set-up and cultures are supportive, only a third of employees (33 per cent) agree.

Additionally, only 13 per cent of employees with disabilities reported feeling that their organisation was fully committed to supporting them.

This means that companies could be significantly missing out as firms who embrace a culture of equality are growing faster in both sales (2.9 x) and profits (4.1 x) in comparison to their peers.

In order to enhance inclusion for this group, Accenture recommended several tips to make the workplace more suited towards workers with disabilities:

  • Clear role models
  • Employee resource groups
  • Parental leave
  • Fair and transparent pay
  • Training
  • Flexible working options
  • Freedom to innovate
  • Mental well-being policies

David Sawyer, UK Enablement lead at Accenture, said:

Now, more than ever, companies need to build stronger mandates for a more impactful culture of equality with shared success.

Organisations are underutilising a large segment of the workforce due to an inability to make the workplace accessible to employees with disabilities. Eighty percent of disabilities are acquired between the ages of 18 and 64 ─ making it crucial for leaders to remember that anyone could become a person with a disability at any time ─ there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’.’

*This research can be found within Accenture’s report ‘Enabling Change: Getting to Equal 2020: Disability Inclusion’ which surveyed people in 28 different countries including the UK during October and November 2019. The executive survey was completed by more than 1,748 senior leaders whilst the employee survey was completed by over 30,282 workers, of whom 5870 had a disability.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.