17% of working people in the UK identify as disabled. However, only 4.5% of those working off-screen in the UK television industry do. Our members aim to achieve an increase to 9% by the end of 2021. We will monitor this through Diamond – the world’s first industry-wide data collection system for monitoring the diversity on and off screen.
The experience and voice of disabled workers in UK broadcasting is central to Doubling Disability. That’s why we commissioned research to collect information about disabled workers’ experiences.
Research findings – disabled worker’s experiences in the UK television industry
“Generally the problem is less with the disabled person and more with the working environment and the attitudes and knowledge of the people in it.”
The research shows that disabled people face discrimination or a lack access to opportunities in the workplace. These negative experiences range from the recruitment stage through to everyday work and career progression.
Portfolio work and underemployment
Portfolio work seems to be the norm for disabled workers in UK broadcasting. We found that they work across different contracts inside and outside UK broadcasting. Only 20% of disabled people were in full-time employment in broadcasting for all of the past five years.
The research suggests that disabled workers are under-employed. Every second respondent had wanted to work more than they were able to in the past five years. 82% had been actively looking for work at some point in that period.
Access to career opportunities
Disabled workers generally experience inequality in accessing work and career opportunities. For each of the career-relevant factors Between one and two thirds of respondents said they had worse access than their non-disabled peers to many factors that are important for their careers:
- Continuous employment
- Promotion opportunities
- Suitable job roles
- Work experience
Understanding and attitudes towards disability at work
Almost 80% of people in the survey stated that management’s poor understanding of disability and discriminatory views about disabled people had limited their career progression. Half of respondents said their careers had been significantly limited, for instance by false assumptions about disabled people’s work.
Crucially, 80% of respondents feel uncomfortable discussing access requirements with employers or clients.
What needs to change
The people we surveyed called for action to tackle the barriers faced by disabled people in the industry. This includes:
- Improving disability knowledge throughout the industry
- Educating people at work about a range of accessibility aspects
- Creating sustainable work opportunities
- For disabled workers to be in the workplace at all levels of work and decision-making
These actions should create sustainable, systemic change, and be visible and open to all disabled workers.
Full research reports
The following reports contain more detail about the issues, based on research.
- Our original report on Doubling Disability (PDF) with the CAMEo Research Institute at the University of Leicester sets out the challenges the industry faces.
- The shorter version of our latest report analyses the experiences of disabled people working in the UK broadcast industry (PDF). Alternative versions are available in Easy Read (PDF) and Word (Docx).
- The full version of our latest report (PDF) contains deeper analysis and more experiences from disabled people working in TV. An alternative version in Word (Docx) is also available.
Also in this section:
Use our practical resources to help you in your career, or in creating a disability-inclusive workplace: