More than one-half of small business owners have never hired someone with a disability, according to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal.
The main reason for this is they don’t know how to recruit them, found the 2012 Commercial Study on Hiring Persons with a Disability.
The number one challenge for business owners in 2013 will be to find educated, talented and capable people who can help them fill the jobs that their growing businesses will create, found the survey of 500 business owners across the country.
Business owners said that attracting and retaining employees ranked ahead of raising revenue, weathering through the economy, managing operating costs and improving productivity as their greatest business challenge.
People with disabilities who are able to work are twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population, said BMO.
“This persistent unemployment gap needs to be addressed for many reasons,” said Sonya Kunkel, director of diversity and inclusion at BMO. “It can take a social and economic toll on these workers and their families. It costs government and taxpayers money unnecessarily, and it robs Canadian businesses and our economy of the vital contribution persons with a disability are ready and able to make.”
Three-quarters (77 per cent) of small business owners who have hired people with a disability said these employees either met (62 per cent) or exceeded (15 per cent) their expectations, found the survey.
“Many of Canada’s most successful and fastest-growing companies are innovation-focused and depend on the diversity of their employees’ skills and knowledge to both develop new products and services and improve their productivity,” said Steve Murphy, senior vice-president, commercial banking, at BMO. “People with disabilities are a vastly untapped pool of talent and can be a tremendous resource for those companies who are serious about innovation and growth.”
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