Busting the Myths of Hiring People with Disabilities

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We are lucky to be living in an unprecedented era of social tolerance and inclusion, yet, while there are some minority groups that have made amazing strives to get recognition and representation in the workforce, there are some others that are still fighting to get their spot. People with disabilities still face a lot of prejudice and bias when trying to break into the job market and, more importantly, to be seen as equals by their peers.

When looking for a new job, disabled people face a good deal of discrimination from recruiters. It may not come from a conscious or mean-spirited place, but most recruiters would think twice before hiring someone with any type of disability.

Understanding Disabilities

The term “disabled”, while politically correct, is an umbrella term for a larger group of people with various levels of function. In broad terms, there are two types of disabilities, physical and cognitive, although the two are not mutually exclusive and a person may have a combination of the two.

Physical disabilities include the blind, deaf, mute, and people with limited or low mobility. Intellectual and developmental disabilities, on the other hand, refer to people that may have trouble learning new skills or dealing with social situations. Furthermore, disabilities may vary in range and severity from one person to another.

Why You Should Hire People with Disabilities

There are many advantages to hiring people with disabilities, yet many recruiters choose to steer clear of this course due to a misconception of how this could mean more trouble than solutions. That’s the very idea we’re here to disprove by stating the facts.

The good news is that some companies have already begun to realize the benefits of including disabled people among their ranks and here’s why.

Disabled workers are an untapped source of candidates. Chances are that lately you’ve been having trouble finding and retaining suitable candidates for the open positions you’re requested to fill; well, here you have a large group of willing and able candidates that are struggling to find a decent job.

Just in the US, the unemployment rate among disabled people doubles that of people without any form of disability. This begs the question of what would happen if recruiters simply began to consider this vast group of capable and competitive workers.

People with disabilities are just as capable as most other professionals. It is safe to assume that the main reason why recruiters tend to overlook this group of people is the (mis)belief that they will not be capable to cope with the tasks at hand. However, what recruiters fail to realize is that people with disabilities have the advantage of having dealt with their conditions their whole lives, so they tend to be more hard-working and persistent than conventional workers.

Furthermore, a study presented by the UN states that workers with disabilities often have higher retention rates, better performance ratings, and even clock in less absent days. Not too shabby, right?

Hiring people with disabilities boosts your diversity benefits. We all know that diversity is an important thing these days, and it is here to stay. Having a diverse workforce will bring you several perks.

For once, it helps a lot to improve your employer branding as an inclusive workplace. It also helps improve your image on the eyes of your customers, many of which could be disabled as well. According to the UN, “employees with disabilities relate better to customers with disabilities.” This represents a major advantage not only in increased revenue, but also in the form of customer feedback on how to improve your business.

Furthermore, it is a known fact that a diverse workforce will ultimately improve the quality of the products or services you’re providing. Different backgrounds and perspectives in life bring different ideas to the table.

Employers of people with disabilities get a good tax break. In many countries, including the US, government tax offices offer special incentives to companies to bring down the walls that prevent disabled people to join the workforce. They do so in the form of reduced taxation to those companies that fill a certain quota of disabled staff members.

Now, a tax break should not be the only or even the main reason to hire disabled people; that would actually defeat the purpose. Think of it as a bonus to all the other benefits we mentioned before.

To Sum Up

With a candidate pool that is growing ever smaller and harder to retain, people with disabilities represent a big, capable, and untapped workforce that many recruiters are missing out on due to a set of unfounded misconceptions.

Hiring people with disabilities means welcoming a hard-working and reliable group of people into your company. There really is no reason for not doing it and, in a future entry, we’ll be covering some tips and pointers on how to attract and hire people with disabilities.

Edu Rojas / NEUVOO
Content Marketing Editor