Attitudinal Barriers Stop Us from Hiring People with Disabilities

Attitudinal Barriers Can Get in the Way

Just like all negative attitudes, there are barriers in life. The same is true for hiring people with disabilities. Often times these barriers are negative attitudes based on falsehoods, misguided information or just lack of awareness. This is unfortunate because it limits our choices and keeps us from moving forward in a positive manner. In other words, we miss out based on a false belief.

Businesses miss out on hiring qualified talent and committed individuals because of these attitudinal barriers. It is proven that negative attitudes or lack of understanding toward people with disabilities is a key barrier to hiring.  And, more importantly, a barrier to truly obtaining the best candidate. Yes, people with disabilities can be your best candidates!

Businesses are facing many challenges in hiring and retaining quality employees. When limiting their selection, they are adding to the challenge.

Misconceptions About People with Disabilities:

  • Workers with disabilities get hurt more easily and therefore must be placed in roles where safety is less of an issue. At two Walgreens distribution centers, each with 40 per cent more employees who have a disability, the overall costs associated Report: “Hiring people with disabilities is good for business!” with accidents was 78 per cent lower than any other center with a lower percentage of staff with disabilities. (Spinal Cord Injury 2/2)

  • People with disabilities require extra supervision and have lower performance rates. A 2007 DuPont study found that 90 per cent of people with disabilities were rated average or better on job performance

  • Accommodating new employees with disabilities is expensive- 57 per cent of workplaces who hired people with disabilities had no extra costs and 37 per cent of companies who did need to accommodate employees averaged a onetime cost between $400 -$600. (JAN-Job Accommodation Network)

What can be done:

  • Provide education
  • Conduct yearly training
  • Create first hand experiences
  • Support systems

Due to the increased focus from OFCCP on outreach and recruiting of people with disabilities, many companies are electing to train their recruiters on disability awareness, interviewing people with disabilities, and accommodations for disabilities. However, this training is not being offered to hiring managers.  If we do not provide training and support to our hiring managers the barriers will remain for people with disabilities and the risk of exposure to the business rises.

Recruiting and retaining employees who acquire a disability can be challenging, especially for companies who do not have an accommodation process. And for those that do, the hiring managers usually have not been properly informed and/or trained on the accommodation process. This lack of knowledge can lead to poor decision making. With proper training and the right accommodation process, the manager is no longer making decisions based on budget or if the employee is worthy of the accommodation.

Companies are being faced with increasing issues around an aging workforce. With an aging population comes disabilities and/or limitations. Companies who do not address this issue run the risk of legal action being filed against them for not  considering or providing [reasonable] accommodation to people with disabilities.

Hiring managers need:

  • A process and support
  • Education and training
  • A budget that includes accommodations

With these tools and support, hiring managers can be successful at recruiting and retaining employees with disabilities.


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