Increasing Disability Awareness In The Workplace

People with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed than able-bodied people, according to CNBC. Studies have found that concerns over additional costs, a lack of awareness, and accessibility issues are reasons why employers don’t take on disabled workers. However, these individuals have lots to offer the workplace and it is time to increase disability awareness among employers.

A help not a hindrance

61 million Americans have a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Yet, just over 3 million of them use a wheelchair. There is a misconception among employers that all disabled people need a wheelchair and therefore extensive and costly adaptations of the workplace need to be carried out if they’re going to hire them. This statistic shows this isn’t the case. Even if a disabled employee does need adaptations there are certainly long-term business advantages to this, as highlighted below.

Improved diversity

57% of employees state they’d like businesses to become more diverse. Diversity is important in the workplace as it ensures all job roles are covered. It also helps people to understand a range of disabilities, including common ones such as ASD and ADHD, as well as less common ones like osteogenesis imperfecta and cerebral palsy (CP). Cerebral palsy is a permanent condition that doesn’t worsen over time. Uncontrollable muscle spasms are normal, but they’re nothing to be afraid of and people with CP can go on to have successful careers. People with disabilities tend to have different skills and expertise compared to able-bodied workers. Individuals on the ASD spectrum, for example, often have amazing memories, and many businesses can benefit from skills like this.

Better business

Studies have found that businesses that employ disabled people make more money than businesses that don’t. A 2018 study revealed their revenues were 28% higher in diverse companies. Companies that take on disabled workers also have a 90% better staff retention rate. As it’s difficult for less-abled people to secure employment, they typically show loyalty to employers that do take them on. This is beneficial as they’ll build good working relationships with their colleagues, customers, and clients. They’ll also be some of the most experienced and skilled members of the team, which makes them invaluable to the business.

High level of intelligence

People with disabilities are often viewed as unintelligent and this is why employers overlook them. But research shows that 14% of intellectually gifted children have a learning disability. In contrast, just 4% of general children have the same. Some of the world’s cleverest people have been diagnosed or are believed to have had a learning disability, Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein all show that you don’t have to be fully-abled to have a successful career.

It’s time for organizations to start employing more disabled people. People with disabilities have so much to offer and businesses are currently missing out on a whole host of skills and knowledge by not giving them the opportunities they deserve.

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