This year’s Disability Equality Index presents a notable upward trend: 126 companies reported having a senior executive that is known internally as being a person with a disability. This is up from 99 execs in the 2021 Disability Equality Index.
In partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities, an equity and belonging organization, Disability:IN published the directory on July 19.
Similar to the Racial Equity Index and Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, Disability:IN ranks and catalogs corporate companies by their inclusion efforts. Featured companies included Amazon for its supplier diversity program, Intuit for its rollout of a QuickBooks ASL integration and Sephora for its All Abilities Hiring Initiative.
Beyond the C-suite, many companies reported top-down disability inclusion measures: half of participating companies reported they are investing in digital accessibility technology, 60% reported external hiring goals related to workers with disabilities and 96% of respondents said they offer flexible work options.
Ted Kennedy, Jr., AAPD board member and index co-chair, called disability inclusion the “new frontier” of corporate social responsibility. “To prepare for the future and create sustainable businesses, companies must engage their stakeholders with disabilities and weave disability inclusion into everything they do,” Kennedy said in a press release.
A recurring theme and call to action throughout Disability:IN’s report is the integration of Fortune’s top-ranked companies. Sixty-nine Fortune 100 companies participated in the report, up from 67 and 59 in the previous two years. As HR Dive noted earlier this month, as of at least July 2022, all Fortune 100 companies have DEI commitments.
In the 2022 report, Disability:IN observed that a “silver lining” of the pandemic was “broader social discourse about mental health and emotional well-being.” Even workers without disabilities gained greater awareness of how “ordinary work interactions can tax their physical well-being and mental health, highlighting the ways traditional working conditions have perpetuated inequity for people with disabilities for decades.”
In turn, employers have recognized that wellness resources are a form of disability affirmation, the organization wrote, and a method of proffering accessibility.