Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities - October 5, 2010
The Kessler Foundation/National Organization on Disability 2010 Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities marks the third effort by Harris Interactive since 1986 to determine the current attitudes of corporate employers toward employees with disabilities. On the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, this new research also serves to evaluate in a limited fashion, the impact of the ADA on U.S. business.
Data released in July 2010 from an earlier study sponsored by Kessler Foundation and The National Organization on Disability found that little progress has been made in closing the employment gap between people with and without disabilities since the passage of the ADA into law.The 2010 Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities provides additional insight into the employment environment for people with disabilities from the employer’s perspective and may help to answer some questions about why such a large gap still exists.
Overall, the findings indicate that the environment for hiring people with disabilities needs a great deal of improvement. Although corporations recognize that hiring employees with disabilities is important and, for the most part, do not perceive the costs of hiring people with disabilities to be prohibitive, most are not hiring many people with disabilities and few are proactively making efforts to improve the employment environment for them.
The survey was conducted by telephone and online in April 2010 among 411 human resource managers and senior executives at companies with over 50 employees.
Highlights of the 2010 Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities:
• Broadly, companies are thinking about diversity and incorporating aspects of diversity hiring into their corporate policies.
• Disability is on the radar for some companies but not to the extent that diversity is.
• A majority of companies have hired people with disabilities over the past three years but, overall, people with disabilities make up a small percentage of most workforces.
• Companies with disability programs report that the programs are inclusive of all aspects of the employment process. Most employers do not perceive their program to be particularly effective but subsequent survey findings suggest otherwise.
• Employers mainly use referrals to find employees with disabilities and are not using service provider agencies to their full capacity. However, results indicate that if employers better understood the benefits provided by these agencies – namely, help finding qualified candidates – companies might find them much more useful.