This issue brief uses data from the 2018 Survey of Employer Policies on the Employment of People with Disabilities to examine employers’ efforts to employ, recruit, and hire people with disabilities and their attitudes toward people with disabilities. The survey represents a sample of businesses drawn from a nation-wide directory stratified by industry and company size to enable comparisons across groups of employers.

The brief addresses the following topics:

  • Employing, Recruiting and Hiring People with Disabilities;
  • Employer Attitudes Relating to Work Performance, Social Issues and Costs; and
  • Employer Attitudes Related to Company and Respondent Characteristics.

Major Findings & Recommendations

The authors provided the following findings to the Office of Disability Employment Policy:

  • Between 2008 and 2018, the percentage of companies that currently employ at least one person with a disability increased from 18.4 percent to 22.6 percent, the percentage that recruit people with disabilities increased from 13.5 percent to 17.5 percent, and the percentage that hired at least one person with a disability in the past 12 months increased from 8.5 percent to 13.5 percent.
  • The underlying dimensions of employer concerns about hiring people with disabilities include work performance, social issues, and cost.
  • Using logistic regression analysis, we found that concerns about work performance were negatively related to recruiting people with disabilities. There was no relationship between concerns about cost and recruitment of people with disabilities.
  • Concerns were higher among small companies than medium-sized and large companies and higher among companies in the goods-producing sector than companies in the service-providing or public administration sectors.

Key recommendations identified in this resource are as follows:

  • It is important to continue to focus federal workforce development efforts to improve the skills of people with disabilities to match the needs of employers.
  • Outreach efforts should include information about actual workplace accidents related to disabilities, either incurred by people with disabilities or coworkers, and information on physical environment modifications and accommodations that could increase workplace safety. In addition, outreach efforts should also include information about management and supervision practices and training that could be provided to employees to increase workplace safety.