Title: Network 1000: visually impaired people's access to employment.

Author: Graeme Douglas, Sue Pavey, Ben Clements and Christine Corcoran, Publisher: Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR), University of Birmingham, Year of publication: 2009.


This report presents findings from Network 1000 Survey 2. The data was collected during interviews with 503 visually impaired people of working age between November 2006 and January 2007. All the participants were registered as either blind or partially sighted and lived in Great Britain. Sampling and analysis accounted for the age distribution of the visually impaired population. The report focuses upon data relating to employment. More specifically the report presents data in relation to:    

  • Overview of employment status.   
  • Services received by those currently in work.   
  • People who are not in work.   
  • Barriers and enablers to employment.

Key findings     

  • Employment rate amongst the population of working age people who are registered blind or partially sighted is estimated as 33 per cent.    
  • People who described themselves as ‘long term sick or disabled’ are the biggest group within the working aged visually impaired population (36 per cent). The overall proportion of people who described themselves as ‘long term sick or disabled’ has grown since Survey 1.     
  • The severity of visual impairment has a significant impact upon likelihood of employment – those who are registered as blind are less likely to be employed than those registered partially sighted.    
  • Level of educational attainment has a significant impact upon likelihood of employment. People with higher qualifications are significantly more likely to be employed.    
  • 90 per cent of participants stated that they believed they were ‘very unlikely’ or 'unlikely' to obtain paid work in the next year.