UK Music Urges Music Industry To Break Down Employment Barriers As Survey Reveals 1 in 5 Disabled People Face Discrimination At Work

21.04.2021: UK Music is calling on music industry leaders to ensure disabled people and people with long term health conditions can realise their dreams by removing potential barriers to job opportunities.

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21.04.2021: UK Music is calling on music industry leaders to ensure disabled people and people with long term health conditions can realise their dreams by removing potential barriers to job opportunities.

The call comes as UK Music published new findings from its Workforce Diversity Survey that reveal one in five disabled people in the music industry has faced discrimination at work.

Building on UK Music’s Diversity Report published last October, this newly released data comes from UK Music’s 2020 Diversity Survey of more than 3,558 people. It is published for the first time today.

The key findings of the UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey 2020 related to disabled people working in the music industry are:

• 12% – one in eight of those who responded to the survey – said they had a disability or long-term health condition.
• 76% of those with a disability or long-term condition said their employers had made reasonable adjustments for their disability or condition.
• However, 24% – almost one in four – said that their company or organisation they worked for had not made reasonable adjustments.
• Of those who said they had a disability or long-term health condition, almost one in five people (18%) said they had faced discrimination because of their disability.
• More than half (54%) of those with a disability or long-term condition said they had also faced discrimination on the grounds of age, gender, or socio-economic background.

UK Music is encouraging music industry organisations to look at how they can better support disabled people and people with long term health conditions at work.

These include challenging discrimination, educating staff, listening to employees with a disability or long-term health condition and implementing measures to support them.

UK Music would like an industry toolkit to be developed that would help organisations do more to improve opportunities for disabled people.

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:

“The music industry has made great progress in recent years when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and we are united in our determination to lead the way in this critical area.

“However, our latest data reveals we still have work to do on ensuring the industry is a safe and supportive place for people with a disability or long-term health condition.

“There is no place for discrimination of any kind in our industry, and it is shocking to hear some of the experiences that disabled people have faced in the workplace.

“Across the music industry, we must continue to do everything we can to remove the barriers that disabled people face and ensure there is true equality of opportunity, so that everyone can fulfil their potential.”

UK Music Head of Diversity Rachel Bolland said:

“We have listened to feedback and worked with Attitude Is Everything and our Diversity Taskforce to better understand the needs of people with disabilities in our industry.

“We want to ensure our talent pipeline reflects the diversity of the country.

“A key part of this is making sure the industry is developing opportunities for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to gain the necessary skills, experience, support and contacts they require to work or volunteer in the music industry.”

Attitude is Everything Founder Suzanne Bull MBE:

“Attitude Is Everything want to see an inclusive music industry where Deaf and disabled people can participate in any way they wish – be it as an audience member, artist or employee.

“We know from our own Beyond the Music project that many disabled people are put off from applying for jobs in the music industry for fear of discrimination, and those that do work in the industry often feel a need to hide their impairment due to fears that, if their impairment is known, they will face discrimination or even lose their jobs.

“We welcome the publication of the results of UK Music’s Workforce Diversity Survey and are committed to supporting UK Music to make the industry accessible for everyone who wants to work in it.”

Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group Chairman Robin Miller CBE says:

“There is a common misconception that hiring a person with a disability is expensive, will mean inconvenient workplace adjustments and added pressures on colleagues.

“In fact, according to Accenture’s analysis of 140 companies, those that prioritise disability employment double their net income and benefit from 30% higher economic margins.

“My company, Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group, employs over 42% people with protected characteristics under the category of disability. We outperformed the market by over 25% last year compared to our competitors.

“The music industry would benefit massively from leading the way when it comes to employing people with disabilities, who make a fantastic contribution to the workplace in both economic and social terms.”

UK Music Diversity Taskforce Chair Ammo Talwar MBE said:

“We want the music industry to be as diverse and inclusive as possible. Many organisations have made good progress, but there is still more work to do.

“We need to tear down the barriers to make our workplaces accessible to everyone and work together to bring about those changes.”

Below are some of the responses to our survey from people who suffered discrimination on grounds of their disability or long term condition.

Case 1: “I was forced to leave a job at a major venue after I disclosed a disability and asked for reasonable adjustments. I had to have an exit interview with an in-house Occupational Health Therapist who told me we needed to come up with another reason why I was leaving, as the real reason would have prompted official investigations and they didn’t want to hold them. I believe this came from a lack of education and training on disability in the workplace, as well as unconscious bias. Generally, my experience with getting and keeping reasonable adjustments has been very difficult.”

Case 2: “So much of the industry is still focused on London and on being able to travel to London regularly. This is difficult if you have a disability or health conditions.”

Case 3: “My disability has helped my career and I love that.”

Case 4: “I think it’s unfair to force me to take a sick day. Having sick days affects my overall performance at work and it damages my chances of getting a pay rise or promotion. When clearly the job I do I can perfectly do from home on days when it’s needed without damaging my career path going forward because the majority of time I am well and performance is great.”

Case 5: “There are few visible disabled or neurodiverse members of the music industry and those that are visible struggle with acceptance.”

Case 6: “I had horrible experiences working for a music service who refused to make reasonable adjustments for my disability. When I needed someone else to move the piano, they openly mocked my need for help.”

Case 7: “I do feel that there is a lot of virtue signalling with regards to mental health. I had to leave my dream job because I felt judged and unwanted because of my condition.”

Case 8: “I find that I’m held back from furthering myself and not considered for promotion due to fear of me becoming unwell and costing the company money.”

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