Network Rail overhead line engineers

UK: Network Rail is aiming to increase the number of disabled people it employs, after figures showed that less than 3% of its 44 000 staff have declared a disability or long-term health condition.

‘Around 20% of the population is disabled, and yet less than 3% of our workforce has shared a disability. That’s not representative and it’s something I am determined to change’, said Chief Executive Andrew Haines on December 3.

‘It’s caused by a combination of low recruitment of disabled people, and under-reporting of disability status by existing staff, both of which are things we can do something about.

‘I want there to be more understanding of the huge range of railway jobs that can be done by people with most types of disability, and for us to do better at making everyone welcome. We must remove barriers, offer seamless support, and help people feel comfortable discussing and sharing their disability status.’

The infrastructure manager is encouraging staff to talk more about disability, and raising awareness of non-visible disabilities such as mental health issues, neurodivergence and long-term health conditions such as diabetes.

It hopes that by supporting staff to share disability status, more accurate data can be compiled to produce a disability pay gap report and help improve policies and processes.