A Systematic Review of the Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.

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

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Correspondence to Sally Lindsay.

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Lindsay, S., Cagliostro, E., Albarico, M. et al. A Systematic Review of the Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities. J Occup Rehabil 28, 634–655 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-018-9756-z

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Keywords

  • People with disabilities
  • Employment
  • Quality of life