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One in five disabled people in the music industry face discrimination at work, UK Music study finds

By | Published on Wednesday 21 April 2021

UK Music

UK Music has published the results of research that consulted disabled people working within the British music business. It has called on the industry to make improvements, after one in five said that they have faced discrimination at work and a quarter said that their employer has not made adjustments for their disability.

New data from the organisation’s Workforce Diversity Survey, published for the first time today, specifically puts the spotlight on challenges faced by disabled music industry professionals.

The survey of over 3500 people working in the UK music industry found that 12% have a disability or long-term condition. While 76% of those with a disability or long-term condition said their employers had made reasonable adjustments for them, that still leaves 24% who have not seen their employers adapt.

As well as this, 18% of those who said they had a disability or long-term health condition said that they had faced discrimination because of their disability.

Among the responses, one person said that they had been forced to leave a job at a major venue after disclosing a disability and asking for reasonable adjustments to be made. At an exit interview, they say that they were told to invent another reason for their departure “as the real reason would have prompted official investigations and they didn’t want to hold them”.

Another says: “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”.

UK Music is now encouraging the industry to do more to support people with disabilities and long-term conditions.

“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”, says UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin. “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”, he continues. “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”.

In response to the survey results, Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group Chair Robin Miller 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”, he continues. “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 is recommending the development of an industry toolkit that would help organisations do more to improve opportunities for disabled people.