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People With Impaired Vision ‘Less Likely To Be Employed’

People with visual impairments are less likely to be employed than people with other disabilities, according to a report on the UK labour market experiences of people with sight problems prepared for the RNIB by the Institute of Employment Studies (

The report was compiled through secondary analysis of the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS – over the period July 2004 to June 2007. The LFS recorded 184,000 people of working age in the UK who describe themselves as havingĀ  seeing difficulties’. Of those 108,000 are classed as disabled, 95,000 of whom have a ‘work-limiting’ disability.

The RNIB report finds people over 55 are three times more likely to have seeing difficulties as those in the 16-24 age bracket, which is a greater increase with age than with other kinds of disabilities.

In addition, the report finds that people who are disabled with seeingdifficulties are less likely to be employed (48 per cent) than those with other kinds of disability (50 per cent); this compares to an overall employment rate of 75 per cent among people of working age. For people with more than one disability, the employment rate drops to 38
per cent, however for people with ‘seeing difficulties’ that do not constitute a disability the rate is much higher at 83 per cent.

The unemployment rates are 8 per cent for disabled people as a whole but 13 per cent for those disabled by visual impairment.

In contrast, the report also found that a higher than average proportion of visually impaired disabled people are employed in high-level positions.


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