In this time of employee shortages, businesses are learning the benefits of tapping into the largest underutilized workforce: people with disabilities. Workers with disabilities are not only qualified, but who possess lived experience that can enhance their perspective. Many individuals with disabilities have spent their lives adapting to ableist environments and systems, resulting in candidates who offer unique lens with which to confront business challenges.
Why hire an applicant with a disability?
In addition to hiring someone who is a good match for a specific business need, there are several advantages to hiring individuals with disabilities (whether observable or not):
- Reflect a commitment to embracing diversity and creating a culture of inclusion
- Gain insight into how to serve customers/clients with disabilities
- Include of a wide variety of perspectives when solving problems and meeting business needs
- Employ high productivity and retention workers
- Enjoy tax incentives available to employers who are intentional about employing individuals with disabilities.
- Tap into subsidized employment (on the job training)
Will disabled employees be able to do the work?
The short answer is “yes!”
- The safety record of employees with disabilities is virtually identical to that of non-disabled employees, and people with disabilities have no greater absenteeism rates than non-disabled employees.
- Studies in the U.S. and Canada estimate that 70% of employees with disabilities require no accommodations.
Chances are, you already have employees with disabilities within your organization. According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation, a majority of workers with disabilities have conditions that are “hidden” or unobservable (diabetes, anxiety, ADHD, brain injury, etc.). Many people choose to not disclose their disability because of bias, stigma, and misconceptions that could limit their opportunities. As it is, the employment rate for people with disabilities is staggeringly low (less than 18% in 2020 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), evidence of the need for companies to open their minds, hearts, and doors.
How do I find a qualified candidate?
Corporate success depends on attracting the best fit for each role, and that means focusing on ability. However, because of limited opportunities to interact with people with disabilities in “mainstream” environments, as well as limited visibility in the news and media, hiring managers may have trepidation about recruiting candidates with different abilities, neurodivergence, and/or those who require reasonable accommodations to effectively do their jobs. Additionally, there are misconceptions about safety and reliability. Here’s where we can dispel myths and look beyond perceptions of what people with disabilities are capable of, focusing instead on their performance that will help to enhance business solutions, expand workforce diversity, and increase employee retention.
District Disability Support Programs and Services
3375 Camino del Rio South, Room 275 | San Diego, CA 92108
619-388-6983 (voice) | 619-388-6534 (fax) | 619-550-3389 (videophone)