Recruiting Employees with Disabilities

Employers are facing the toughest labor market in decades for finding talent and filling available roles. At the same time, we have a large talent pool that is not being optimized or included in the workforce. That large talent pool refers to individuals with disabilities and Less than 20% of individuals with disabilities were employed in 2020. Despite the protections for people with disabilities enacted thirty years ago with the Americans with Disabilities Act, most employers have not yet turned a corner on creating and implementing strategies that support and include people with disabilities in our workforce.

Perhaps given the increasingly tight labor market, it’s time for employers to embrace this community and start crafting outreach, recruiting, and inclusion strategies to get those folks into the workforce with proper management techniques and reasonable accommodations to ensure their success. As an illustration, just developing hiring managers’ skills at interviewing candidates with disabilities can potentially remove a barrier in the candidate funnel. With a simple lesson on inclusive recruiting of people with disabilities and in five minutes or so, hiring managers can get squared away on best practices for interviewing someone with a disability.

This real-life example depicts how employees with disabilities face the challenges of even getting an interview and being hired for a job. It’s pretty apparent that there is a pool of top talent and passionate people that many organizations don’t tap into and their experiences as job seekers are very different from everyone else. 


In addition to the labor shortage, employers may also be motivated to create strategies to recruit and support people with disabilities. 17% of all children in 2009 were reported as being on the autism spectrum and those children are quickly reaching an age to enter the workforce. Supporting neurodiverse employees takes practice and skill and most employers have not yet made this a priority or started developing these management skills.

Emtrain is launching a new microlesson on Including Neurodiverse Employees and will be available later this month, subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated

Yes, we’ve had protections on the books for 30 years. But that’s not the same as proactively developing and implementing strategies and developing the people skills to recruit, support, and cultivate a demographic that is under-employed or unemployed and is not optimized to contribute to our economy. As organizations double down on diversity and inclusion efforts, let’s not forget that diversity and inclusion include people with disabilities. Particularly with our labor shortage, we should be able to achieve better than employing 20% of that community.

Learn more about breaking barriers to inclusion with employees with disabilities in our Diversity and Inclusion course. Both employees and managers can learn how to build inclusion and belonging at every touchpoint of the employee experience. 

disability inclusiondiversity and inclusionrecruiting and hiring
Janine Yancey
Business Compliance & Workplace Culture Expert
View bio

Stay up to date with our blog posts!