Is hiring people with disabilities on your radar? Maybe…or maybe not, according to a nationwide poll of more than 400 senior execs and HR managers. The survey, a joint effort from the Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability (NOD), found that few companies report hiring people with disabilities or implementing the programs that integrate these employees into their workforce.
Here are a few of the revealing findings from the 2010 survey:
- 2% of employees hired within the last 3 years had disabilities (note: only about half of the survey respondents provided an estimate.)
- 70% of participants offer diversity programs or policies, yet only 66% of those firms include disability in the workplace as an element.
- 18% of the businesses provide education to help current staff start working with people with disabilities.
- 7% of the companies offering an “employees with disabilities” program also had a group charged with raising disability awareness within the workplace.
How much progress has been made with disability in the workplace?
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Despite the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, evidence suggests little progress has been made when it comes to hiring those with challenges. For example, in 1995 40% of firms had a point person tasked with overseeing the hiring people with disabilities, compared with just 19% today.
In addition, among people with disabilities only 21% between ages 18 and 64 hold a full- or part-time position—a sharp contrast to 59% of people who do not have disabilities. Researchers at the Kessler Foundation, a charity focused on improving the lives of those with physical disabilities, said this was an indication of just how little progress has been made in the last two decades.
Working with people with disabilities benefits your bottom line.
To stay ahead of the competition in a globalized economy, companies need to tap into talent—no matter shape it might take. As a manager or HR professional, it’s time to leverage the skills and talent that people with disabilities offer. You can successfully integrate staff members with disabilities onto your team.
Your next star employee is out there.
Don’t wait any longer to tap into this underutilized pool of skill and talent. Who knows what will happen if you emphasize hiring people with disabilities? That applicant with a disability might just become the employee who generates a new revenue stream or saves the company from missing a profitable opportunity.
To learn more about employer responsibilities in the workplace and other issues regarding disability in the workplace, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
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