Paralympics inspire UK business to see ability in disability

August 12, 2013, 11:00 AM GMT+0

Attitudes towards disability within British workplaces have significantly improved since the 2012 Paralympic Games, according to new YouGov research commissioned by Nationwide Building Society.

Two-thirds (67%) of people in the UK believe that awareness of disability has been raised following the London 2012 Paralympic Games, compared to 22% that do not. Meanwhile, fewer than a fifth (18%) think companies are less supportive of the needs of disabled people since the Paralympics, while 36% disagree with this.

Over a third (35%) think that the barriers disabled people have faced in work, such as access to work and promotion, are less significant than they were before the Games, with less than two in ten (18%) rejecting this view.

Almost four in ten (39%) employees feel that colleagues have become more aware of disability since last summer, compared to 36% that have seen no change. Meanwhile, less than one in twelve (7%) were aware of an incident in which a disabled employee has not been given support they require, such as specialist equipment or general assistance.

Problem of poor access at work still persists

However, the survey reveals that poor access in work buildings remains the biggest bugbear of those wishing to see improvements made for disabled people over the next 12 months, in addition to a need to recruit more disabled people into companies.

Wider views on disabled people

Nearly two-thirds (65%) believe that disabled people have been recognised more than ever as being able to lead normal lives and achieve great things since the Paralympics. Over six in ten (61%) also state that people’s attitudes have changed in thinking that those who are disabled can be active members of companies, communities and clubs. In both cases, only 7% of people surveyed disagreed.

Alison Robb, Group Director at Nationwide, commented on the findings: “The London 2012 Paralympic Games marked a turning point for disability awareness in the UK. As a nation, we are placing increasing emphasis on the ability within disability… just as we have drawn inspiration from the Games to further develop a dedicated staff disability network, other businesses should embrace this step-change and look to make as compelling case as possible for people with disabilities to apply for jobs. While inequalities remain, we are clearly moving in the right direction.”

See the full YouGov/Nationwide results

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as the second largest savings provider and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK.

Image courtesy of Getty Images