Patients often ask psychiatrists for advice on how to answer questions about their health, when seeking employment. They fear not being employed if they declare that they have suffered from a mental illness. The attitudes of personnel directors of 200 randomly chosen public limited companies were measured. This confirmed significant reluctance, stigma and ignorance about employing and believing the mentally ill. Employers decided whether to employ someone by considering the fob description, the standard of previous work, whether the applicant was receiving treatment, previous time off sick, and the particular illness suffered. Those with depression were more likely to be employed than those with schizophrenia or alcoholism. The largest companies were significantly more likely to employ patients and were less likely to seek dismissal than the smallest. Employers would welcome more information about mental ill health. Potential employees should approach large firms and seek treatment.