The Benefits of Employing People with Disabilities

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A wheelchair user joins colleagues at a table

A wheelchair user joins colleagues at a table

In previous posts, we’ve alluded to the uncertainty an employer might feel when considering hiring a person with disabilities. They may have some misconceptions, such as that accommodations are very costly, or that those with disabilities may be more difficult to employ, or that they will not be as good at the job. However, we know these things to be untrue. In fact, there are many benefits to employing people with disabilities.

There have been many studies that dispel the employer concerns mentioned above, and go on to describe the myriad benefits to hiring people with disabilities. One that can jump out to employers right away involves improvements in profitability; one study found that businesses that welcome those with disabilities saw 28% higher revenues, double the net income, and a 30% increase in profit margins. Additionally, companies that employ more people with disabilities enjoy a number of competitive advantages. For one, employees with disabilities represent not only a vital workforce, but an important customer base as well, both of which may be going untapped by businesses who ignore or otherwise discount people with disabilities. Greater diversity also draws in more customers, especially those who value inclusion. Another advantage that comes with hiring people with disabilities is an increase in innovation, as people with disabilities bring unique talents, and are often creative and good problem-solvers. Finally, companies that embrace disability enjoy a more diverse and inclusive work culture, which can lead to improved work environments, increased ability awareness – which itself can lead to both professional and personal growth – and increased employee comfort and confidence. The latter can be especially beneficial, as it can lead to employees speaking up more to point out and resolve issues, and to share ideas.

Employers may also harbor misconceptions about the relationships between employees with disabilities and costs. They may believe that their business may lose money due to absences and/or short-term employment. However, employees with disabilities have been shown to take fewer absent days than their able-bodied coworkers. Employees with disabilities also have an overall higher rate of retention, and in fact, a more diverse workplace increases employee retention overall. Employers may also have financial concerns regarding accommodations, but there is little to no cost associated with accommodating employees with disabilities, and those that do require a cost average a one-time payment of just $500. Another cost may be related to safety, as employers may be under the impression that workers with disabilities are more likely to be injured on the job. However, studies have found that employees with disabilities are 34% less likely to get into work-related accidents, and that the presence of employees with disabilities improves safety overall. Finally, employers may be interested to know that businesses who hire people with disabilities may receive tax credits or other incentives.

As we can see above, there are many reasons to hire people with disabilities. It’s important to share these benefits with employers when they express concern about hiring an individual with a disability, and to share them early on in the conversation. In addition to these benefits, remind them that people with disabilities are just as capable of succeeding in their job as those without!

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