- Professor Nicolas Bacon (Principal Investigator)
Research from a City, University of London professor has helped shape government policies relating to the employment of 7.9m working age disabled people in the UK – including 3.7m people who are not currently in employment.
The research which was published with fellow academics as part of disability@work has helped establish apprenticeships targets for disabled people, shaped government targets for disability employment, affected the Disability Confident scheme and pushed for employer mandatory reporting, revised disability employment criteria in public sector procurement and influenced a disability-inclusive government response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
What did we explore and how?
Disabled people face severe challenges in the labour market, with only 54 per cent of disabled people in the UK currently in employment compared to 82 per cent of non-disabled people. Studies also show that there is a 15.2 per cent disability pay gap.
In a report titled ‘Ahead of the Arc’, Nicolas Bacon, Professor of Human Resource Management at City’s Business School (formerly Cass), warned that the government will not achieve its disability employment target until 2065 and outlined several interventions that employers must make.
Professor Bacon’s work showed that employers who signed up to previous government schemes to improve disability employment, were unlikely to employ a higher proportion of disabled people in their workforce.
Employers on the scheme were also no more likely to have implemented disability equality practices to address institutional discrimination, improve data collection and encourage inclusive recruitment.
Benefits and influence of this research
The report was produced for and endorsed by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Disability and formed the basis of much of the subsequent collaboration between disability@work and the APPG.
The report was put to the Prime Minister in Prime Ministers’ Questions and since then Professor Bacon has held over 80 meetings across Westminster and Whitehall with politicians and civil servants. Conversations sought to ensure the employment of disabled people is taken into account in the legislative programmes of a wide range of government departments, including the government’s Industrial Strategy, Social Value in Government Procurement and the National Strategy for Disabled People.
The work has helped government set accurate targets and reshape strategies, such as requiring employers awarded level three Disability Confident status to employ disabled people.
Professor Bacon also assisted Lord Shinkwin in writing a Workforce Information Bill, introduced in the House of Lords, that would require employers to report the disability prevalence in their workforce.
An APPG endorsed paper by Professor Bacon and his colleagues offering suggestions on how to protect disabled people during the Covid-19 economic downturn also encouraged increased support for disabled people in employment.