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22 May 2024

Professor Kim Hoque gives evidence on disability employment to Parliamentary Committee

Inquiry examines lack of progress on the disability employment gap

Kim Hoque, wearing a suit and green tie, speaks in a parliamentary committee room
Professor Kim Hoque, speaking at the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry

Kim Hoque, Professor of Human Resource Management at King’s Business School has given evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry on disability employment.

The inquiry was set up to examine the progress being made in reducing the disability employment gap since the committee’s 2021 report, which warned that Department for Work and Pensions' national programme for supporting disabled people into work was not working. As of 2023 the disability employment gap remained unchanged on the previous year at 28.9 percentage points.

Professor Hoque has researched and published widely in the human resource management, employment relations and EDI fields, and his research underpins the Disability Employment Charter, which he co-founded in 2021 along with leading charity and trade union campaigners.

He gave his testimony alongside Laura Davis, CEO of the British Association of Supported Employment, and Nic Murray, Policy Manager at Leonard Cheshire.

During the hearing, he highlighted the reasons why the government’s achievement of its target to get one million more disabled people into work gives a false impression of progress; and why the government’s Disability Confident scheme has failed to improve disabled people’s employment outcomes. He also highlighted that only a tiny percentage of jobs are advertised as working from home, thus calling into question the government’s justification for the tougher benefits regime announced in November 2023’s Autumn Statement. 

He also put the case for the Disability Employment Charter’s key proposals, including: mandatory disability employment and pay gap reporting; reform of Disability Confident and Access to Work; leveraging government procurement expenditure to increase disabled people’s employment; a requirement for employers to notify employees on decisions regarding reasonable adjustment requests within two weeks; and statutory rights to time off for trade union equality representatives.

Professor Hoque's testimony was cited in a House of Lords debate on people with disabilities' access to services later in the month:

Is my noble friend aware that, of the 129,000 jobs listed on the DWP’s Find a Job service, only 0.51% are fully remote and just 2.75% are listed as being hybrid remote? As Professor Hoque said when he gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee in the other place earlier this month: “The idea that there are all of these working from home opportunities out there for disabled people … is just a complete myth”, not least because competition for those jobs, scarce as they are, is going to be even higher.

Lord Shinkwin, People with Disabilities: Access to Services, debated on Thursday 16 May 2024, House of Lords’

You can view Professor Hoque’s testimony below:

The Disability Employment Charter outlines nine key recommendations to the UK Government to address disability employment disadvantage and has been signed by 187 signatory organisations including all the country’s leading disability charities, a growing number of large corporate organisations, and other leading organisations including the Trades Union Congress, the British Medical Association, and the British Paralympic Association.

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Kim Hoque

Professor of Human Resource Management