For workers with disabilities, recruitment has a long way to go
- Employers' common recruiting processes are ineffective for candidates with disabilities, according to a new survey from the Kessler Foundation, 2017 National Employment and Disability Survey: Supervisor Perspectives. Conducted with the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, the survey polled more than 3,000 supervisors in organizations with 25 or more employees about whether hiring, training and retention practices were effective for employees with and without disabilities.
- Many recruitment practices that can help meet hiring goals are being underutilized, the report says. Companies that partner with a disability organization find the relationship overwhelmingly effective for recruitment. However, only 27% of those polled have such a partnership, even though the majority of those polled said they see its value.
- Another recruitment tool that can assist is a centralized accommodation fund. The funds were rated effective by 97% of respondents, yet only 16% of employers maintained them. Supervisors also believe short-term assistance from temporary training programs or job coaches could be effective, yet only 19% of companies reporting using these services.
The survey's findings may not be entirely surprising given the respondents' indication that only 28% of them had disability hiring goals in place. That stood in stark contrast to the 60% of companies who said they have hiring goals for other groups.
As employers are increasingly reporting difficulties finding candidates, it may make sense to turn to practices that allow recruiters to reach a wider talent pool. According to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics, 12.6% of the U.S. population was comprised of individuals with disabilities in 2015. More than half were of working age but only about 35% were employed, compared to 76% employment in the same age group for individuals without disabilities – an employment gap of more than 40%.
The survey's findings indicate that with commitment from upper management, effective partnerships and good practices can advance many employers' goal of a diverse, productive and committed workforce.