Employment statistics of persons with disabilities

The employment of people who live with a disability can benefit your business in many ways. ClockWork have published several articles surrounding all you need to know about hiring people with disabilities. This article will provide some disability statistics and an overview of the population of people living with disabilities in South Africa. A specific focus will be put on the labour market.

The data published in this article is taken from an official publication by Statistics South Africa.

Reference: Statistics South Africa (2011). Profile of persons with disabilities in South Africa. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa.


7.5% of people living in South Africa have reported living with a disability. This consists of over 4.5 million people. It is estimated that around 43% of these people are male, where the other 57% are female. In comparison to the population as whole, these statistics show that a notably greater number of females are living with a disability.

When it comes to analysing the numbers in terms of race, black Africans are the demographic whose disability penetration is the greatest. 7.8% of the African population are living with a disability. This compares with the lowest race group being coloured and Indians, both at 6.2%. The population of white people living with a disability is 6.5%.

Within these statistics, we class youth as those individuals being between the ages of 18 and 29. In total, over 2 million youth live with a disability. This consists of just over 3% of the population. Therefore, we see that a lower proportion of youth live with a disability compared with those in other age groups.

Disability Types

We now analyse the distribution of disabilities that people live with in South Africa. Sight orientated disabilities are by far the most prolific.  11% of the population admit to having mild or severe visual impairment. This compares to communication which forms the category with the fewest individuals. Just 1.5% said they had mild or severe difficulties communicating. Other types of disabilities include hearing (3.6%), walking/climbing stairs (3.5%), remembering/concentrating (4.2%), and self-care (3.4%).

Challenges for people with disabilities

Unemployment is one of the major challenges affecting the majority of persons with disabilities and their families. Persons with disabilities are often excluded from employment. This is due to a number of factors such as discriminatory attitudes and practices, past ineffective labour legislations, inaccessible and unsupportive work environments, inadequate access to information, inaccessible public transport, and lack of skills.

Linked to employment is income, which in turn determines the welfare of individuals and their households. Generally, persons without disabilities earn a higher income than persons with disabilities. Among persons with disabilities, disability severity and type of disability determines one’s income. People with sight orientated disabilities earn more income compared to persons with other types of disabilities.

Sex variations in earnings show that male persons without disabilities earn a higher income compared to persons with disabilities. Among persons with disabilities, males earn double what females earn, regardless of the degree of difficulty.

Massive earning disparities exist by geographical location. Persons with disabilities in urban areas generally have higher earnings compared to those in tribal/traditional areas; a pattern attributed to limited access to employment opportunities in rural areas as well as only having access to low-paying and unskilled jobs.

ClockWork specialises in assisting unemployed people with disabilities to find jobs, internships and learnerships.

Source – https://clockworkapp.co.za/employment-statistics-persons-disabilities-south-africa/



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