Majority of those with disabilities say their career options are limited

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It’s all of us or none of us — a new survey has found a majority of Americans believe companies need to value accessibility. The poll of 1,000 employed Americans and 1,000 employed Americans with disabilities found that 9 in 10 respondents overall said it was important for their employers to value diversity and inclusion, specifically including individuals with disabilities. Highlighting the challenges Americans with disabilities face in the workplace, 57% of Americans with disabilities believe that their disability has limited their career opportunities. Forty-three percent of all respondents believed that people with disabilities are not given equal opportunities for employment and advancement in the workplace. In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October, the study conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by SourceAmerica was designed to highlight the crucial need for more public and private sector help in creating additional job opportunities for people with disabilities. “The survey results strengthen our resolve to create access to more jobs for people with disabilities in the workforce. Our goal is to create a level playing field where anyone with a disability who wants to work has the opportunity to do so,” said Richard Belden, president and CEO of SourceAmerica. “As we approach National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we want to encourage employers nationwide to join us in connecting people with disabilities to competitive jobs with good wages and advancement potential to build careers.” A majority (59%) of those with disabilities said they’ve left their job due to discriminatory acts, while only 26% of people without disabilities have made the same decision based on discrimination. Two-thirds (68%) with disabilities said they’ve witnessed discrimination against someone with a disability in their workplace, twice as many (32%) as respondents without disabilities. Fifty-eight percent of those with disabilities said they experienced workplace-related discrimination as early as during the job interview, compared to only 26% of Americans without disabilities. The survey findings also revealed a lack of awareness about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives, with six in 10 respondents indicating that they have not heard of DEIA. Nearly half of respondents (48%) knew that the A in DEIA stood for Accessibility. Of those familiar with DEIA initiatives, 58% believed that their employer is not doing enough to promote diversity and inclusivity. Seven in 10 believed more emphasis should be placed on people with disabilities in workplace DEIA initiatives. Additionally, 67% viewed DEIA initiatives as essential for helping individuals facing barriers to employment, which includes people with disabilities. Almost all respondents (93%) agreed that the government and private/public sectors should actively support employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. More than a third (37%) would like to see the government help employers set targets, quotas or goals for disability representation within their workforce. “With this finding in mind, we continue to voice our support and educate lawmakers on the Congressional efforts to establish a 1% federal contracting goal for the AbilityOne Program,” added Belden. “Through this survey, American employees with and without disabilities across the country have made their voices heard and the results prove their desire for immediate action by lawmakers to provide more opportunities for employment for the disability community.” ACTIONS EMPLOYERS CAN TAKE TO PROMOTE INCLUSIVITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES ● Create flexible work arrangements and job modifications - 45 % ● Provide reasonable accommodations - 39 % ● Educate employees about disability inclusion and sensitivity training - 39 % ● Ensure equal access to training and development opportunities - 36 % ● Increase representation of individuals with disabilities in leadership - 32 % ● Foster a supportive and inclusive work culture - 29 % ● Implement inclusive hiring practices - 25 % MEASURES GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE TO PROMOTE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ● Ensuring that workplaces are equipped with the necessary accommodations - 57 % ● Conducting disability awareness training for hiring managers and employees - 49 % ● Collaborating with disability-focused organizations - 40 % ● Setting targets, quotas, or goals for disability representation within their workforce - 37% ● Sharing success stories of individuals with disabilities - 34 % DISCRIMINATIVE ACTS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES HAVE FACED IN A WORKPLACE ● Negative attitudes impacting work relationships - 38 % ● Inappropriate comments or jokes about my disability -37 % ● Assigned lower-quality tasks due to my disability - 35 % ● Unequal growth or advancement opportunities - 33 % ● Withheld information or resources - 30 % ● Exclusion or isolation from work activities - 29 % ● Ignored contributions based on my disability - 27 % Survey methodology: This random double-opt-in survey of 1,000 employed Americans and 1,000 employed Americans with disabilities was commissioned by SourceAmerica between July 14 and July 21, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).