Diversity, Recruiting News

Growing Importance Placed on Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Employees with Disabilities

Recruiting Daily Advisor has explained the importance of hiring workers with disabilities on multiple occasions (here, here, and here) and how this diverse group of workers can provide many benefits to your company. According to a new survey, there is even more importance being placed on hiring workers with disabilities. Let’s take a look.

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National Industries for the Blind (NIB), an employment resource for people who are blind, has made progress in raising awareness about the untapped capabilities of this skilled workforce. NIB recently commissioned a follow-up survey to its 2012 study aimed at understanding the change in employers’ attitudes and perceptions towards hiring people with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired at U.S. companies.

By conducting this research, NIB aims to support people who are blind by providing greater awareness and understanding about the capabilities of this group among employers across the country.

According to the results of the 2018 NIB Hiring Managers Survey, recruiting, training, and retaining employees with disabilities has grown in importance by 12 percentage points compared to the 2012 survey.

Additionally, more hiring managers agree there are a greater number of jobs that employees who are blind can successfully perform. Furthermore, in companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, the presence of educational programs created to help managers and employees learn to work with people with disabilities has grown 20 percentage points since 2012.

“Over the past 80 years, NIB and its associated nonprofit agencies have worked tirelessly to create innovative employment opportunities for people who are blind in nearly every sector of the nation’s economy,” said NIB President and CEO Kevin Lynch. “NIB’s work is making a positive impact regarding how employers perceive employees who are blind.”

Helping Disprove Misconceptions

NIB will use the survey results to continue to build on current initiatives disproving the misconceptions around what people who are blind are capable of in the workplace. Despite significantly lower levels in the U.S. national unemployment rate since 2012, the likelihood of hiring managers to hire and employ a candidate who is blind remains consistent at 58%.

Managers still believe customer service positions are the best fit for people who are blind, and two-thirds of survey respondents believe employment costs for employees who are blind are more expensive compared to 2012.

NIB and its nationwide network of more than 100 associated nonprofit agencies conduct coordinated outreach to businesses, community, and government leaders to showcase the wide array of jobs currently being performed by people who are blind.

“Even as we continue to make positive strides, it’s apparent from the results of the follow-up survey that there is still more work to be done to translate education and awareness into creating meaningful employment opportunities for individuals who are blind,” Lynch said.