July 15, 2013, by Jemma Utley

Disclosure – Do you tell an employer about your disability?

By Peter Kay (Senior Careers Adviser, Faculty of Social Sciences team)


If you have a disability, as defined by the Equality Act of 2010, and are applying for jobs then the law states that you should have an equal chance at success as other candidates. Despite this you could still think your disability will be a disadvantage for career progression but this shouldn’t be the case. Informing a prospective employer will actually help you in the application process from start to finish.

How can disclosure help you?

Completing your application – many employers will ask for information on disabilities, especially the major employers who have very well-developed recruitment processes that encourage diversity. Need help with applying for jobs?

Before an interview/assessment day – You could disadvantage yourself on the day if you do not disclose your particular needs (if you have them) such as extra time for tests, access to buildings and so on. Want to find out about what happens at an assessment day? Need interview advice?

You’ve got the job! – It might be that your disability is hidden yet may impact on the job. Applicants with Asperger’s may want to negotiate a quiet space to work prior to their first day as environmental factors, such as noise and lighting, may impair performance.

Starting work – Speaking to your mentor or line manager will help colleagues understand your capabilities, why you work in the way that you do and break down any damaging stereotypes.

If you want to disclose then how do you do it?

Positively, alongside examples of your successes, to demonstrate the strengths and competencies you will bring to the firm. Incorporating aspects of your life and disability could illustrate many of the qualities employers are looking for in applicants such as integrity, motivation, goal setting, and project management.

Whilst it is a personal decision as to whether you disclose or not, on balance it is probably best to do so. Graduates with disabilities do just as well as non-disabled graduates in the job market. Many organisations seek applications from disabled students and a good number are involved in schemes to attract and recruit you. Do look at Employ-Ability an organisation that supports students through the application process with leading organisations such as Google, the Civil Service, Slaughter and May. A lot of employers are part of the two ticks scheme which guarantees applicants with a disability an interview.

There is no reason not to be honest in your application and stay positive about your chances as employers want to recruit people like you. If you do have any concerns then discuss them with the employer or speak to a careers adviser who may be able to advocate on your behalf. There is a world of opportunity waiting for you.

If you need more information on disclosure and disability then why not register to attend my dedicated workshops and one-to-one appointments on 6 November?

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceEmployer Insights