Hiring People with Disabilities Gives You a Competitive Advantage in Today’s Market—and Here’s Why

September 26, 2022

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According to the CDC, 1,415,625 adults in New Jersey have a disability—or one in five adults.1 Despite the fact that this subset represents 21% of the state’s population, the employment rate of working-age adults with disabilities caps off at 37.7%.2 This community of workers is an untapped resource of talented and gifted individuals who are more than able and willing to support, outperform, and even lead their peers.

Given the continued labor shortages brought on by The Great Resignation, employers have an opportunity to expand their applicant pool with candidates who offer a unique suite of valuable skills and talents, a strong motivation to work, and an unwavering desire to exceed expectations. Beyond addressing your immediate need to fill staffing gaps amid the profound hiring shortages, hiring people with disabilities offers a wealth of benefits that can significantly impact your overall business.

Seven reasons why you should hire people with disabilities:

  1. Boost revenue: A recent study from Accenture, in partnership with Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), revealed that businesses that offered the most inclusive working environment for disabled employees saw a 28% greater annual revenue over a four year period than their non-DEI focused counterparts, and were four times more likely to have total shareholder returns outperform that of their peers.3
  • Gain competitive advantage when hiring: More than 75% of job seekers report a diverse workforce as an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.4 By hiring people with disabilities, you not only supplement your workforce with highly committed and uniquely skilled employees, but you also set yourself apart when attracting talent as a whole.
  • Power your business with diverse perspectives and unique skillsets: Workers with disabilities have unique and powerful skills and experiences that can fuel innovation, success, and growth. Adults with Autism, for example, have been shown to possess higher-than-average abilities in pattern recognition, memory, and mathematics, while many others with intellectual or physical disabilities come to the table with strong attention to detail, inherent creativity, and varied perspectives on how to confront challenges and get a job done. Taken together, these characteristics exemplify many of the qualities employers seek when building a strong workforce.
  • Lower turnover: The Department of Labor found that employers who embraced disability saw a 90% increase in employee retention.5 Not only does the general employee base feel more loyal to employers who practice diverse hiring, but the workers with disabilities, themselves, have a strong desire to work, find a greater sense of fulfillment in their day-to-day work than their non-disabled counterparts, and tend to stay put in one job long-term.
  • Expand your market: The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy categorizes persons with disabilities as the third-largest market segment in the U.S. One of the best ways to tap into this massive market segment and increase patronage from people with disabilities is through representation in the workplace. 
  • Customer loyalty: By strengthening your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for a workplace that employs people with disabilities, you improve your reputation and differentiate yourself in the marketplace. According to research done by the National Business and Disability Council, 66% of consumers will purchase goods and services from a business that features persons with disabilities in their advertising,thereby illustrating that embracing a workforce of this talented community of employees matters.

Persons with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in corporate America. Yet, this subset of workers offers a unique suite of valuable skills and talents that optimally position them to perform all types of jobs at all levels, in businesses of all sizes. As employers and business leaders, you have an opportunity to combat your staffing shortages with highly skilled employees that exemplify the qualities you’re looking for in a workforce, while empowering people with disabilities to be more independent, better provide for themselves and their families, and live a fulfilling life where they can contribute to a thriving workforce.

For more information about the benefits of practicing diverse hiring or for access to one of NJ’s most robust talent pool of people with disabilities, contact us here.  

1 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/impacts/new-jersey.html

2 https://njbmagazine.com/monthly-articles/a-meaningful-mission-hiring-workers-with-disabilities/

3, 6 https://www.accenture.com/t20181029T185446Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-89/Accenture-Disability-Inclusion-Research-Report.pdf

4 https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity-inclusion-workplace-survey/