Out-dated stigmas top obstacle to hiring people with disabilities: Survey

But employers believe people with disabilities bring 'fresh perspective,' are more loyal

Anxiety and out-dated stigmas about people with disabilities are the top barriers to employment for this population, according to a new study.

The survey of 110 HR executives from a cross-section of Ontario firms was commissioned by the Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN).

More than one-third (36 per cent) of respondents said they were discouraged from hiring a person with a disability because "it's harder to dismiss an underperforming person with a disability than one without a disability."

One-quarter (26 per cent) of respondents worried about the perceived associated expenses. Other barriers to hiring people with disabilities were concerns about higher absentee rates and increased effort to train these employees.

But employers also see the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. More than one-half (53 per cent) of respondents said they would be motivated to hire people with disabilities because they bring a "fresh perspective."

Respondents also said people with a disability would be more loyal to their employer, with twice as many respondents believing retention rates among people with disabilities are higher than among employees as a whole.

"We've learned that many employers recognize the value that people with disabilities can provide in a workplace. But out-dated stigmas are still the number one barrier to jobs in Toronto," said Susan Howatt, chairperson of JOIN's Toronto region board of governors. "People living with a disability represent the largest, untapped human resources pool in Canada and they deserve a chance."

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