General Disability

Bearing Disability: Employment Fears

Feature image of Employment Fears. A figure is holding a magnifying glass with the word job in the middle

I’m 22 now and I am half-way through my masters. This is great and I am really looking forward to this but with my Masters being a one year course, there is something else that I need to think about.


After my Masters, I need to get a job but I fear that it is going to be harder for me than it is for any of my friends that are able-boded. It’ll be hard on me for two reasons, I am physically disabled and I have anxiety, which is classed as a mental illness.

I don’t speak about my anxiety much because it’s a new diagnosis (since 2016) that I am coming to terms with. It explains so much though.

Telling the Employer Beforehand

Anyway, I am not sure how it works in other countries but in the U.K you do not have to tell your employer that you are disabled. That’s great. I can leave out my anxiety, no problem because there isn’t any adaptations that they will need to be aware of. So, anxiety wise, my employer doesn’t need to know before hand.

It’s the Cerebral Palsy that’s the issue. Now, I’m told that I don’t particularly look disabled and it’s not obvious until you’ve known me for awhile.

Maybe that’s why my PIP was taken off me? But not looking disabled doesn’t mean that I’m not and I know that I will need adaptions in certain job environments. I only have the full use of my left hand. My stamina is low. I am easily exhausted and standing for a long time can be an issue for me

Plus, there are going to be times when the weather is going to stop me from getting to work on days other people can.

All of this is going to affect how I am able to work and the person who will interview me for the job is going to be aware of this.  I cannot really leave this out of the form because it is something that they are going to need to be aware of. If I don’t tell them, they can’t adapt the working environment for me.

I can’t suddenly announce on Day 3 of the job that I cannot do a specific task because it would not be safe for me to do so.

But they can also refuse me the job. Technically.

Refusing someone on Disability Grounds

Discrimination in the workplace isn’t supposed to exist, but neither is discrimination against race or age or religion. And I am sure you are aware that they do exist.

An employer can’t just refuse you because you are disabled. It’s illegal. But, like everything, there are loopholes (I am sure loopholes exist in all minorities).

An employer can refuse to give you a job if:

  • There is a better candidate than you.
    • I’m sure this one is used in abundances! The “I’m sorry, but we found someone better suited for the role” excuse.
  • The adaptions and allowances that are needed are unreasonable.
    • However, as far as I am aware, there is no definition of what is unreasonable. But, citizens advice gives a brief list of what are reasonable adjustments.
  • You cannot physically do the job, or it will harm you in some way.
    • This I can understand. There would be no point in me applying to be a waiter because I can only use one hand. It would take me 2 or 3 times the length to give a table food, and by then their food is likely to be cold.

Disability Employment Gap

The disability employment gap is the gap between people with a disability in the workplace and people without a disability in the workplace.

A recent document produced by Parliament UK states that the current gap is 30 percent. Currently, 51 percent of disabled people are in work compared to 81 percent of people without disabilities.

However, it is slowly increasing year by year. Plus, Scope, a disability charity, has reported that the government has made plans to collect more disability data.

Hopefully this will help improve things.

A blogger’s experiment

A blogger has recently deleted this or it has been moved to another post but I’m going to tell it anyway. They wrote a post about graduating from university two years ago and still not having a job. She explains that she has applied to many and has always been rejected despite having a lot of experience. The other candidate was always “better”.

The blogger also states that she tried something new on the forms. A test or experiment in a way.

She did not disclose her disability and sent the application. Her interview offers had increased, not by a margin, but by a ten-fold. However, her disability is clearly visible so when she turned up, the answer was still a hard no.

This is what I fear. I fear that I am going to be turned down because of my Cerebral Palsy.

Masters Degree

I am a third of the way through my Masters degree. I’m hoping that it will increase my chances of being employed. I don’t know how the stats work for disabled people against disabled people when it comes to postgraduate and graduate employment. However, Prospects states that in 2017, 77% of all working-age postgraduates are in professional employment roles, compared with 65% of all working-age graduates. Plus, 73% of people who are under 30 and have an Masters degree tend to be in professional roles compared to 65% of undergraduates under 30.

Looking at these statistics, I’m hoping that my Masters will help me get a job regardless of my disability. It is comforting to know that 73% of young people are in professional roles after taking a masters degree.

What I’m Doing to Increase my Chances

I’m using the Career Hub at my university more this year than I have done in any previous year. They have a lot of online courses, one of them is an award in Social Media.

Now, this course has taught me things to consider on all my social media platforms and on wordpress. I’m slowly implementing that.

I’m also trying to build up my connections but this is hard. I don’t really know how to do this. There were suggestions on the course which I am going to try. It’ll be hard work, but worth it in the end.

Employments with Careers Advice

I am making employments with career advice. Asking them for help with my CV and Creative CV. I still don’t understand a Creative CV fully, so I’m going to have to ask them about that but I am told it is essential for my career choice.

From April, I’m also going to be looking on websites for intern opportunities, employment schemes and anything else that will get me a job in the media.

Here’s hoping that it works! I’m sure it will. And if not, I’ll do what I have done all my life. I’ll get up and try again.

Thankfully, I have a group of friends and family that will support me along the way too.

Thanks for Listening

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my post on my Masters degree. Or any of my disability related posts.

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12 responses to “Bearing Disability: Employment Fears”

  1. Well done for being informed and look after yourself ahead of graduating.

    Husband did not receive his Asperger’s diagnosis until he was almost 30, but had epilepsy diagnosed as a teenager. As the example you used illustrated, when you don’t disclose a disability, you get invited to more interviews. Husband kept being rejected from jobs we knew he was qualified for and could do, and the common denominator was that he disclosed he had epilepsy. So for several, we decided against our better judgement to not disclose it. And as if by magic he started getting invited to interviews…..

    One notable exception is the health service which ‘despite’ Husband disclosing his Asperger’s syndrome and epilepsy still offered him a job. I know it should be just done and that we shouldn’t have to think about it so much. But I am so grateful that at least one employer can see past Husband’s diagnoses and see all the good things he can offer.

    I only wish it was more commonplace than it currently is.

    • <3 Thanks for this comment Silveryew. I’m hoping it goes ok, gotta keep hopeful. Nice to know that there are exceptions out there though.

      Still waiting to hear from PIP, they keep putting the date back unfortunately, but will get that tribunal eventually.

  2. You are right. Getting a job as a disabled person is hard. I strongly believe that it’s our job to educate people. We can do this, but we can’t do this. They can split the tasks so the disabled people do what they can, and the others do what we can’t. More job opportunities for all of us. I wish our world could be like this. 🙂

  3. Yes I find this world really unfair I feel so long as u can do a job what does it matter what or how u look so long job is done yet people do jobs then some come disabled after eg road accidents heart attack or stokes we could go out and get hit with car bike or bus but some would still be able to do their job so should anyone say they’re not disabled so to get a job people need to wake up it can happen to em or their families then what. I tell u what they’d want what everyone else what’s to be able to work. People over all are very ignorant to other people and needs we all bleed hurt and cry the same dispute they issues everyone deserves a chance in life there is too many up and downs in this world as it is. Give who can do jobs the job some people who are disabled can do jobs better than other non disabled persons that I do know x

  4. For those who know you, and those who don’t, you are an inspiration to everyone. Don’t let your disability define you. Don’t accept its limitations. You have this burden so as to give you extra strength and power. To break through those barriers we all face. And to succeed, in whatever you set your mind to. I believe in you. I am privileged to know you. It was an honour to teach you. You taught me much …

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