Disability and work

People with disabilities make up an estimated one billion, or 15 per cent, of the world’s population. About 80 per cent are of working age. The right of people with disabilities to decent work, however, is frequently denied. People with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities, face enormous attitudinal, physical and informational barriers to equal opportunities in the world of work. Compared to non-disabled persons, they experience higher rates of unemployment and economic inactivity and are at greater risk of insufficient social protection that is a key to reducing extreme poverty.

The ILO has a longstanding commitment to promoting social justice and achieving decent work for people with disabilities. It takes a twin-track approach to disability inclusion. One track allows for disability-specific programmes or initiatives aimed at overcoming particular disadvantages or barriers, while the other track seeks to ensure the inclusion of disabled persons in mainstream services and activities, such as skills training, employment promotion, social protection schemes and poverty reduction strategies. ILO efforts to include people with disabilities also cover the full spectrum of its activities, including its internal practices and partnerships with other UN agencies, as outlined in the ILO Disability Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan 2014-17.

What's new

  1. International Day for Persons with Disabilities

    Turn disability into something unique, says actor R.J Mitte

    03 December 2015

  2. International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    ILO Director-General: 'Millions of women and men with disabilities face exclusion'

    03 December 2015

  3. Publication

    Decent work for persons with disabilities: promoting rights in the global development agenda

    30 November 2015

  4. Publication

    Moving towards disability inclusion: Stories of change

    09 November 2015

  5. Fact sheet

    Facts on disability

    04 November 2015

  6. ILO Global Business and Disability Network

    Bringing business together to promote disability in the workplace

    28 October 2015

Mainstreaming disability

  1. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

    Design an inclusive skills development program


    How to increase access of persons with disabilities and women with low levels of education to skills development programmes.

In the spotlight

  1. © ILO

    Training in China

    Hunan pioneers an innovative model called "supported employment"

  2. Employing people with disabilities makes good business sense

    People with disabilities represent an untapped pool of skills.