Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity (CREID)


The aim of this review is to summarise evidence from official statistics, evaluations of employment-focused initiatives and academic work on the experiences of disabled people in relation to obtaining and retaining employment.

There is obviously a shady area between work and training, so the review will also consider the nature and impact of initiatives such as supported employment programmes in Scotland. Following the specification produced by the Scottish Executive Equalities Unit, the research will:

  • identify and discuss the evidence that is available through research and statistical data sources on the employment position of disabled people
  • highlight, where evidence is available, the role played by policy interventions to facilitate and promote labour market participation by disabled people
  • identify gaps in the current research base

The research addresses the following questions:

  • What are the rates of employment for disabled people within different types of mainstream employment, including self-employment?
  • What are the social characteristics of both employed and unemployed disabled people in terms of gender, ethnicity, region, and age?
  • How does the employment status of disabled people relate to other aspects of the social circumstances (e.g. benefits status, housing, health, educational qualifications, previous work experience, access to transport etc)?
  • What are the barriers which appear to stand in the way of accessing or participating in mainstream employment, including self-employment?
  • What are the support mechanisms on offer to support access to and retention within employment, including self-employment (e.g. Access to Work, direct payment, ICT support)?
  • How effective do different support mechanisms appear to be?
  • What forms of vocational rehabilitation are available to disabled people in Scotland and how effective do these appear to be?
  • What policy initiatives have attempted to promote employment for disabled people and what evidence is available on their long-term and short-term outcomes?
  • What evidence is derived from hard and soft outcome measures of the effectiveness of employment interventions?
  • What evidence is available in relation to the potential business benefits of continued employment of disabled people over the long term?
  • What impact does the Disability Discrimination Act appear to have had on disabled people's participation in employment both in terms of access to and opportunities within the labour market?
  • What is the financial position of disabled people relative to others within the labour market, and the financial costs of work and disability both presently and in terms of pension protection?
  • What impact do recent changes in benefits rules appear to have had on disabled people's participation in employment?