Employment Rates for People with Disabilities 2021-22

Employment Rates for People with Disabilities 2021-22

The employment rate for people with a learning disability has fallen to 4.8%

The statistics for adults with a learning disability and autism known to adult social care, have remained consistently low across the country but latest drop to under 5%  (latest figures published October 2022) require greater analysis.  We believe that there have been multiple factors that have impacted on this:


While some Supported Employment services were given the opportunity to become more creative and support employers to fill the roles needed during this time, other providers, especially local authority, were pulled into supporting other front-line services. There is continued research into the impact of COVID 19, around the wider social determinants of health inequalities and these further impacted the disabled people looking to enter and retain employment.

Investment into Supported Employment.

There has been significant investment into Supported Internships, but we have not seen the same level of investment into Adult Supported Employment services. We are thrilled to be working with our DWP colleagues to further embed the Supported Employment model into local areas, through the Local Supported Employment trailblazer. However, this funding was only available to 24 local authorities, at the same time services are losing European Social Funding, local authorities are under huge pressure, and we have seen services reducing, or having to diversify in a way that moves them from Supporting this core group of people.

Access to work.

We appreciate that Access to Work teams are working hard to try and resolve the back log of cases in the system, but we know that many services and local authorities do not feel confident in the Access to Work process, to support any development of their local services and ensuring people have the right support to not only enter but flourish in the labour market.

The definition for Indicator 1E was changed in 2015-16 and now only includes those adults with learning disabilities included in the Short and Long Term (SALT) Data Return as receiving long-term support because of their learning disability.

  • 2020-21: 5.1% ( Male 5.7%, Female4.4%) 
  • 2019-20: 5.6% (Male: 6.2%, Female: 4.8%)
  • 2018-19: 5.9% (Male: 6.4%, Female: 5.2%)
  • 2017-18: 6.0% (Male: 6.6%, Female: 5.2%)
  • 2016-17: 5.7% (Male: 6.2%, Female: 5.0%)
  • 2015-16: 5.8% (Male: 6.2%, Female: 5.2%)
  • 2014-15: 6.0% (Male: 6.4%, Female: 5.3%)
  • 2013-14: 6.8% (Male: 7.5%, Female: 5.8%)
  • 2012-13: 7.0% (Male: 7.8%, Female: 6.0%)
  • 2011-12: 7.1% (Male: 7.9%, Female: 6.1%)
  • 2010-11: 6.6%.


    The employment rate for adults in contact with secondary metal health services has fallen to 6%

    This compares to previous years' figures:

    • 2020-21: 9% ( Male: 7%, Female: 11%) 
    • 2019-20: 9% (Male: 8%, Female: 11%)
    • 2018-19: 8% (Male: 7%, Female: 10%)
    • 2017-18: 7% (Male: 6%, Female: 9%)
    • 2016-17: 7% (Male: 6%, Female: 9%))
    • 2015-16: 6.7% (Male: 5.5%, Female: 8.0%)
    • 2014-15: 6.8% (Male: 5.6%, Female: 8.3%)
    • 2013-14: 7.0% (Male: 5.8%, Female: 8.5%)
    • 2012-13: 7.7% (Male: 6.5% Female: 8.9%)
    • 2011-12: 8.9% (Male: 7.8% Female: 10.0%)
    • 2010-11: 9.5%

    The full set of reports is available on the NHS Digital website.

    2010-11 was the last year of the NIS indicators and the Social Care and Mental Health indicators were replaced by the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework for 2011-12 onwards.

    NI146 and NI150 appear in the new framework as Indicators 1E and 1F, although there are some changes to the definitions.


    Labour Force Survey

    The labour force survey gives estimated employment rates for various disability categories but these are based on fairly small sample sizes. The latest figures are for the 6 months ending June 2020:

    • Depression, bad nerves or anxiety: Employment rate 54.3%
    • Mental illness or other nervous disoreder: Employment rate 33%
    • Severe or specific learning difficulties: Employment rate 26.5%
    • Autism: Employment rate 21.7%

    For further information, see https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/datasets/disabilityandemployment