State And Ways To Increase Employment Of Persons With Disabilities


The integration of people with disabilities into society requires the fulfillment of their right for employment. According to the government statistics as of 1 September 2019, only 23% of working-age people with disabilities were employed in the Chelyabinsk region. In 2019, Chelyabinsk State University reviewed the employment status of working-age people with disabilities and their employment methods from the standpoint of structural, functional, and interdisciplinary approaches. The study's empirical basis is the materials of the regional survey, which included 1126 working-age disabled people. More than one out of three people identify health status as the main reason for unemployment. Every fourth person claim that it is impossible to find a suitable job and more than every eighth person emphasizes that they were denied employment. Only a small number of people with disabilities do not wish to find a job. Only a seventh part is employed in quota-based jobs, while a fifth of the unemployed is not eligible for quota-based jobs. Employment is evident not only in the regional center but also in other cities and districts, especially in rural areas. The overwhelming majority are willing to be officially employed if it is possible to work part-time, have a flexible working schedule, keep social support, and work from home. It is necessary to take a differentiated approach, considering the degree of disability, types of health impairment, educational and vocational training. This will improve the competitiveness of persons with disabilities in the regional labor market.



The social integration of disabled people requires the fulfillment of their work rights, but many people with disabilities do not have the opportunity to work, use their abilities, and earn money due to personal and social circumstances. According to the Federal Register of People with Disabilities, only 26.3% of working-age people with disabilities are employed in Russia. According to the state statistics for 2018, the largest number of people are employed in agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing and fish farming (25.2%), manufacturing (12.5%), trade; car maintenance (11.4%), education (9.4%), health and social services (8%).

In terms of education, persons with disabilities are inferior to other citizens of similar age. The number of people with disabilities who have incomplete secondary education is twice as high than healthy people aged 18 years and older, but there are significantly fewer people with higher education. The rate of disabled people with higher education increased to 22.8%, and the rate of people with secondary vocational education increased to 24.5% (Kozyreva & Smirnov, 2019).

The problem of employment of persons with disabilities is related to limited health opportunities, the state of health care, barriers to accessibility of the social environment, education, training, difficulties in getting suitable jobs, stereotypes in public opinion, etc.

In 2019, Chelyabinsk State University has analyzed the employment of working-age persons with disabilities in the Chelyabinsk region. The objectives of the study were to identify the types of employment, the causes of unemployment, sources of income besides pensions and wages, awareness of quota-based jobs for the employment of disabled people, sources of information about jobs; willingness to obtain a profession; conditions of official employment. The object of the study is working-age persons with disabilities. The subject matter is their occupation and employment.

Problem Statement

Problems of employment of working-age persons with disabilities is a matter of great scientific interest. Experts from the Higher School of Economics Demianova and Lukiyanova (2017) found that people with disabilities in Russia face significant discrimination in terms of their employment status. Naberushkina (2017) and Pashkova (2018) examined legislation on employment of disabled people and social policy issues. One of the important factors is the employer's interest in employing people with disabilities, but all the benefits provided by the state are not a serious incentive to hire people with disabilities. Natsun and Shabunova (2018) proved that the growing level of disability in the population leads to a loss of GDP at the expense of unemployed persons with disabilities and that one of the decisive factors in reducing economic losses from a disability is appropriate social policies that will encourage the fulfillment of the labor potential of disabled people. However, the majority (82%) of persons with disabilities are willing to work (Romanov & Yarskaya-Smirnova, 2010).

The factors related to the willingness and attitude of persons with disabilities towards work in relation to their age and degree of disability have not been sufficiently explored (Saltychev et al., 2018).

The research work of Aleksandrova et al. (2019) presents the results of a sociological survey on employment of people with disabilities in the labor market of Moscow. Despite its active development and significant budgetary opportunities, the employment of disabled people is relatively low. The reasons are: insufficient accessibility of the urban environment, inaccuracy in the work of medical and social expertise, poor implementation of inclusive education, low efficiency of quota-based jobs, the lack of support for specialized enterprises for people with disabilities. It is evident that the development of the economy and social sphere of the region is closely connected with the level of employment of disabled people, thus in Russian regions, the situation is more complicated. Similar studies have shown that the vast majority of unemployed persons with disabilities want to work.

Some foreign countries have similar issues in employing people with disabilities. In Brazil, where a quota-based job system exists at the state level, people with disabilities are often offered low-skilled jobs that do not require education, professional qualification, and have a low wage (Dutra et al., 2020). The law on quotas is not sufficient to guarantee the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the labor market, and it is important to build partnerships with employers, authorities and the society (Neves-Silva et al., 2015). The quota system for employing people with disabilities in Turkey is not very effective (Akpulat, 2019).

In Italy, the employer must have 7% of disabled persons out of a total of more than 15 employees in the company or pay a compensatory contribution. The intermediary organizations play an important role in educating disabled people and helping them to become employed (Agovino et al., 2019).

Researchers believe that quota-based jobs cannot improve the employment rate for people with disabilities; employers should be encouraged to accept them, and offer wage subsidies and adapted working environment (Agovino et al., 2019; Oborenko & Rivza, 2018; Shabunova & Fakhradova, 2016; Samper & Fernández, 2017; Sainsbury, 2018).

Some studies prove that a well-developed social security system and substantial state payments for persons with disabilities have a deterrent effect on improving employment rates (Mussida & Sciulli, 2016; Wik & Tøssebro, 2014).

Some studies are aimed to find effective mechanisms to promote the employment of disabled people. Bikbulatova & Pochinok (2017) proved the usefulness of professional skill contests for the subsequent employment of young specialists, students, and graduates of professional education organizations. Another tool is the involvement of people with disabilities in business activities. Research by Mota et al. (2020) confirmed that people with disabilities become self-employed entrepreneurs to avoid unemployment. For effective employment of disabled people there should be a comprehensive approach that includes a mechanism for interaction between different actors: employment services, educational institutions, public organizations, employers, medical and social expertise institutions (Arbuz, 2018).

Research Questions

This study explores the issues of occupation and employment of persons with disabilities.

The research problem is determined by a number of contradictions:

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to analyze working-age persons with disabilities, identify trends and patterns of their employment and unemployment, develop proposals to increase the employment rate in the Chelyabinsk region.

The objectives of the study:

To identify the terms of employment for persons with disabilities.

Research Methods

The theoretical and methodological basis of the study was made up of the principles of structural and functional approaches. Working-age people with disabilities are considered as a stratum structured by degrees of disability, types of health disorders, nominal and rank parameters. Each group has opportunities for social and professional status. Systemic, interdisciplinary, economic, pedagogical, and sociological approaches have been implemented. Employment of working-age people with disabilities is understood as their participation in social and economic relations between groups regarding work, professional self-determination, income, and integration into society.

A toolkit for collecting sociological information consists of: a questionnaire for working-age persons with disabilities, which is comprised of 16 questions, a sample of 1000 respondents with a quota distribution by groups of cities and districts, degrees of disability and vocation, and a survey assignment. The survey information was collected by regional, municipal, and district bodies that work with people with disabilities (employment centers, medical and social care assessment services, societies for the disabled people, and social services).

In July - August 2019, 1126 persons with disabilities (all degrees of disabilities, all types of health impairment) were interviewed, out of 66018 persons of working age (1.04.2019) in the Chelyabinsk region, which includes 37% – residents of Chelyabinsk, 17.1% – residents of major cities, 21.8% – residents of medium-sized and small towns, medium municipal areas, 23.4% – residents of small municipal areas. The sample is representative.


State of employment of working-age people with disabilities

Employment of people with disabilities is a multifaceted process. Russian government set a goal to provide 50% of disabled people with employment by 2020. The scale of this phenomenon and set time define it as a pressing problem.

As of 1 September 2019, only 23% of working-age disabled people are employed in the Chelyabinsk region, while the employment rate of the region's population is 62%.

The number of employed disabled people is relatively higher in Chelyabinsk and lower in groups from other cities and municipal areas. There are relatively more employed women with disabilities (19%) than men (14%), in age groups 25-44 years old (19%) and 18-24 years old (18%) than 45 years old and older (13%), and in the group with higher education (32%) than without education (7%).

Half of the employed respondents work under a labor contract. There are more of them in the group of medium-sized, small towns and medium municipal areas, and less in the group of large towns. Women with disabilities (61%) are more employed than men (39%), in the age group 18-24 years old (58%), in the age groups 25-44 years old (48%) and 45 years old and older (46%), in the groups with no education (80%) and with higher education (61%), than in the general secondary (27%), vocational training courses (29%) and the secondary vocational training (51%). Every fourth person working in the region is hired by other people to do various jobs. Another 19% of disabled people work without a labor contract, while only 3.7% work as individual entrepreneurs.

The situation of employed and unemployed persons with disabilities differs significantly. For example, 8.6% of the unemployed workers with a labor contract, 11% without a contract, and 68% and 19% of the employed respectively. Unemployed persons with the first degree of disability and various types of health impairment do not work and do not have such opportunities due to their health condition. The main reason for unemployment is "health condition does not allow to work". It was mentioned by 35% of the surveyed persons. According to the answers, the second reason is "seeking for a job, but can’t find one" (25%). The third reason is "employers refuse to hire me when they find out that I'm disabled" (12%). Only 4.5% say that their health condition prevents them from leaving home. Only 3.3% of disabled people have no willingness to work. 3% do not feel any need to work. Only a few of them (2.2%) are still studying. People with hearing and locomotor system disabilities of the second and third degrees of disability is relatively higher among those who work. Persons with the first and second degrees of disability with a visual impairment and locomotor system disorders say that health condition does not allow them to work.

73% of disabled people in the Chelyabinsk region have no income besides pension and wages, and there are more who have the first degree of disability and visual impairment. Disabled people from major cities (70%) do not have any other income, and the numbers are relatively higher in the group of medium-sized and small cities, and medium-sized municipal districts (76%). 76% of unemployed persons do not have any income other than pension and wages, but significantly less – 57% of employed persons. Relatively more employed people receive income from work in the household – 15%, and only 10% are unemployed. Such an excess among employed people is observed in almost all possible sources of income. Thus, disabled people demonstrate leadership and entrepreneurship in other areas as well.

Employment opportunities for persons with disabilities

Most people with disabilities want to work to the extent of their physical abilities. 2019 survey revealed that 79% are aware of the existence of quota-based jobs, but only 2.5% actually work. Almost every sixth person with disabilities is not eligible for the quota-based job, and relatively more of them have the first degree of disability, hearing-impaired, and locomotor system disorders (wheelchair users). Every fifth person with disabilities has never heard of such jobs. Every third disabled person with the second degree of disability does not know about job-based quotas and the number is the same for the group with the third degree of disability. The situation in the small municipal districts of the region is particularly problematic against that background. There were no persons with disabilities employed there out of the total number of respondents. Persons with disabilities are more aware of quota-based jobs than persons who are not employed (15% vs. 0.2% respectively). Among the latter, there are many more people who are aware of the quota-based jobs, but they do not have qualifications for them (20% vs. 7.3% respectively).

The survey showed that the main sources of information on vacancies for persons with disabilities are employment centers, Internet sites, family and friends. Advertising in the media, advertisements on information stands are in fourth place in the ranking of sources of information about vacancies for people with disabilities. Sources of information such as human resources departments in organizations, companies, recruitment agencies, and educational institutions are less present in the responses.

Among people with disabilities, who have no specialty, profession, or are dissatisfied with the existing ones (92% of the total number of respondents), 34% want to get one, 48% did not want to get one, and 19% found it difficult to answer. Disabled people living in Chelyabinsk and major cities are more interested in acquiring a profession and in small and medium-sized cities there less people. Disabled persons with locomotor disorders (39%) are interested in obtaining a profession, and less are persons with intellectual disabilities and wheelchair users (25% and 26% respectively). There are also more disabled persons aged 18-24 years (49%).

Most disabled people of the region are willing to be officially employed. Only 6.3% of disabled people certainly do not agree to be officially employed under no circumstances. 14% found it difficult to answer the question. One of the conditions of official employment is the opportunity to work part-time and flexible working schedule. One-third of the people with disabilities mentioned it. Keeping the social support that is already being provided (17%) is the second important condition. Another is the possibility to work from home (16%). Every sixth person is ready to work under any conditions; 9.4% of people with disabilities agree to work with a high salary.

The ability to work part-time and have a flexible working schedule is more mentioned by unemployed people (35% vs. 23%). There are more people with vocational training (41%) than among other educational groups. This form of employment is more suitable for women than men (38% vs. 29% respectively). Every second disabled person with hearing impairment and intellectual disability will under no circumstances agree to be officially employed.

Based on the performed analysis we have developed proposals to increase the employment rate of working-age disabled people.

6.3 Proposals to increase the employment rate in the Chelyabinsk region.

Approaches to the development and implementation of measures to increase the employment rate:

Organizational measures and information support:

Assistance for people with disabilities in obtaining vocational and additional education and their subsequent employment:

Systematic work with employers of the region:

Work of employment centers:

Increase the motivation of people with disabilities to become officially employed:


Working-age people with disabilities are a special stratum of the region's social structure. There are 66000 people with disabilities, which is about 3,3% of the total working-age population of the region. Three quarters or 49500 people with disabilities are unemployed. Persons with the third degree of disability prevail by the number among unemployed persons, then it’s persons with the second degree of disability, people who have the first degree of disabilities are presented less. There are significant differences in the types of health impairment, as well as in the distribution by the territory. There are more men than women among unemployed (64% and 36% respectively). Half of all them are aged 45-56 years for women and 45-61 years for men.

A social portrait of an unemployed person with disabilities in the Chelyabinsk region was drawn up: more likely to be a man than a woman, aged 45 to 61 years. Three-quarters of the unemployed persons have no other sources of income besides pensions and wages. The majority of people with a third-degree disability have been disabled in the last five years.

The answers of persons with disabilities to the semi-enclosed questions in the questionnaire, expressed their opinion, testify to the diversity of interests of disabled people and their desire to be useful.

Almost half of the unemployed persons have primary or secondary vocational education, a quarter of them have basic general or secondary vocational education, and every tenth one has completed vocational training courses and every eighth has higher education.

The research showed that a significant proportion of quota-based jobs are not suitable for disabled people, many persons are not aware of the quota-based jobs, and in small municipal areas there are no people working at the quota-based jobs. Who and how determines the list of such jobs, their content, regulations, working conditions, and access to them? It is possible to raise the interest and responsibility of business and entrepreneurial structures in this respect as well. It is preferable to support and encourage those employers who hire people with disabilities.

Around 60% of unemployed people have a motivation to work, and every third wish to get a new profession. To reach the goal of employing 50% of working-age disabled people, it is desirable to implement a regional system of measures. Such measures can be implemented by government agencies and organizations that work with the disabled persons and have resources – labor, financial, organizational and informational. To address the problem of employment of persons with disabilities, it might be useful to conduct monitoring sociological marketing surveys of employment of working-age disabled people. We believe that the implementation of such proposals will solve the task of employing people with disabilities, increase their competitiveness in the labor market, and be important factor for their integration into the society.


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Kozlov, V., & Romanenkova, D. (2021). State And Ways To Increase Employment Of Persons With Disabilities. In E. Popov, V. Barkhatov, V. D. Pham, & D. Pletnev (Eds.), Competitiveness and the Development of Socio-Economic Systems, vol 105. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 168-178). European Publisher.