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Leonard Cheshire Disabled adults and Employers Research 2020

Survey of disabled adults and employers in the UK on experiences of employment and recruitment during the pandemic

Disabled adults

Approaching half (45%) of working age disabled adults say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their current ability to work, rising to 57% among 18-24 year olds.

One in four (24%) who were in employment before the pandemic now say they have been placed on furlough or have applied for grants to top up their wages.  Additionally, one in four (26%) who were placed on furlough say they have not been able to return to work.

Other consequences to those employed pre-pandemic include:

  • One in five (20%) who say they have lost out on income
  • One in four (24%) who say they are working reduced hours
  • One in twenty (5%) who are currently unemployed


One in four (20%) employers say they would be less likely to employ someone with a disability. The practicalities and cost of making workplace adjustments are considered the main barriers to employing disabled people (56% and 54% respectively).

Half of employers (49%) say disabled people are more at risk of being negatively affected by the COVID-19 recession than non-disabled people. Comparatively, just over a quarter (27%) believe both groups are no more at risk than the other.

Looking ahead, employers are most often concerned for their staff’s mental health and wellbeing (41%), followed by their physical health (39%) and job security (37%). Those who employ disabled people are twice as likely those who do not to cite future career prospects as their greatest concern for staff over the next year (20% vs 11%).

Date Published: 27/10/2020

Categories: Health | Public and communities

Client: Leonard Cheshire


Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,171 working age disabled adults (18-65) in the UK between 17th to 30th September 2020. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of working age disabled adults in the UK by age, gender and region.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 502 UK line managers with a responsibility for recruitment online between 17th to 30th September 2020. Data were weighted in to be nationally representative of employers by region, company size and sector.

  1. Savanta-ComRes-Leonard-Cheshire-Disabled-Adults-Tabs-PDF -0 KB.
  2. Savanta-ComRes-Leonard-Cheshire-Employers-Tabs-PDF -0 KB.

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