Report finds it pays to hire disabled workers

March 5, 2013 by Mary Catt

Expanding the workplace talent pool through hiring employees with disabilities makes good business sense, according to a report produced by an ILR School partnership with The Conference Board.

According to the :

  • Nearly 55 million people, more than one in 10 Americans, has at least one disability.
  • People with disabilities and their families earn an estimated $269 billion.
  • Almost 90 percent of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities.
  • It costs little—and often nothing—for companies to meet federal standards to accommodate with disabilities.
  • Managers of workers with disabilities are overwhelmingly likely to recommend hiring employees with disabilities.
Yet, only 33 percent of working-age individuals with disabilities are employed in the United States, compared with 76 percent of their non-disabled peers.

This means that many companies miss out on performance advantages, according to the report, "Leveling the Playing Field: Attracting, Engaging and Advancing People with Disabilities," published in February.

The report describes best business practices to help companies improve their organizational readiness to hire and retain people with disabilities and, ultimately, be more productive. When ingenuity developed by people with disabilities in their lives is applied to business problems, it can lead to better work team problem-solving and decision-making, according to the report.

The report looks at how employers are building competitive advantage through workplace practices that engage people with disabilities, including recent and . It also covers best practices to encourage workers to disclose disabilities so that resources can be directed to them. Mattel Inc., one of the 16 organizations to participate in the report research, has already adopted some of the report's best practices.

In addition to improving inclusion and , employing people with can increase workplace morale, productivity, safety, attendance and interactions with customers, said Susanne Bruyère, ILR associate dean of outreach and director of the Employment and Disability Institute.

More information: Report
Employment and Disability Initiative

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.