More than three quarters of people in the UK and Ireland believe that those with disabilities find it harder to build and nurture inner confidence than the general population, which may impact their ability to progress at work, a new survey has found.
The findings were revealed in a new report published by food services company Sodexo, in partnership with PurpleSpace, a professional network hub for disabled employees.
Nearly 900 people from the PurpleSpace network, partner organisations, Sodexo and its external communities responded to the survey, which took place in September 2019 to help Sodexo understand how to better support employees and customers with disabilities.
It showed that 79% of respondents believe that people with disabilities find it “much harder” to build and nurture inner confidence and resilience, which may impact their ability to progress at work.
The report also highlights the crucial first port of call role that line managers play, with 75% of respondents with a disability saying they had informed them about their disability or workplace needs.
However, many believed that their employer doesn’t do well in sharing information about role models; only 15% have heard about people with disabilities in senior or managerial positions in their organisation.
And 35% of people with disabilities said their employer doesn’t do well in offering mentoring, advice and support.
The new report has been published ahead of tomorrow’s International Day of People with Learning Disabilities.
As a provider of services across a range of industries, including hospitals, schools, prisons, universities and government offices, Sodexo was also interested to understand the needs and experiences of customers with disabilities.
When asked about their experiences as a customer, 30% believed that they received a good service where their needs are anticipated, while 45% have to explain individual needs to a different person on each visit.
Sarah Perry, HR Director, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “This research has provided useful insight that we will be using to improve the workplace experience for colleagues with disabilities, and sharing with our clients and partners.
“Sodexo is proud to be a Disability Confident Leader, but the results clearly show that there is more we can be doing to improve the experience of our employees.
“Last year, we set up an employee network for people with disabilities and allies to help people feel more supported and connected. There are already nearly 150 members of this network, and we’ll be engaging with them to understand how we can better improve how adjustments at work are made to help people feel more actively involved in the process.”