Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 634–655 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of the Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities

  • Sally LindsayEmail author
  • Elaine Cagliostro
  • Mikhaela Albarico
  • Neda Mortaji
  • Leora Karon


Purpose We reviewed literature on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. Increasing attention is being paid to the role of people with disabilities in the workplace. Although most research focuses on employers’ concerns, many companies are now beginning to share their successes. However, there is no synthesis of the peer-reviewed literature on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. Methods Our team conducted a systematic review, completing comprehensive searches of seven databases from 1997 to May 2017. We selected articles for inclusion that were peer-reviewed publications, had a sample involving people with disabilities, conducted an empirical study with at least one outcome focusing on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and focused on competitive employment. Two reviewers independently applied the inclusion criteria, extracted the data, and rated the study quality. Results Of the 6176 studies identified in our search, 39 articles met our inclusion criteria. Findings show that benefits of hiring people with disabilities included improvements in profitability (e.g., profits and cost-effectiveness, turnover and retention, reliability and punctuality, employee loyalty, company image), competitive advantage (e.g., diverse customers, customer loyalty and satisfaction, innovation, productivity, work ethic, safety), inclusive work culture, and ability awareness. Secondary benefits for people with disabilities included improved quality of life and income, enhanced self-confidence, expanded social network, and a sense of community. Conclusions There are several benefits to hiring people with disabilities. Further research is needed to explore how benefits may vary by type of disability, industry, and job type.


People with disabilities Employment Quality of life 



This research was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Kimmel Matching Fund. They did not play any role in the design nor writing of the manuscript.


This study was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Lindsay
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elaine Cagliostro
    • 1
  • Mikhaela Albarico
    • 2
  • Neda Mortaji
    • 1
  • Leora Karon
    • 1
  1. 1.Bloorview Research InstituteHolland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Occupational Science and Occupational TherapyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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