When You Understand the Diversity of Disability, You Can Be More Successful With Inclusive Hiring

In 2021, we’re at a watershed moment in history: There’s more commitment to, action on and conversation about disability inclusion in the business sector than ever before.

There’s a significant “but,” however.

In its 2020 The Global Economics of Disability report, Toronto-based The Return on Disability Group noted, 90% of companies say they put a priority on diversity. But only 4% include disability in their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) mandate.

Part of the problem? A lack of understanding about the diversity of disability.

Businesses need to understand two very important things about disability:

  • It’s diverse — no two people who have a disability are the same. As the saying goes, “When you have met a person who has autism, you have met one person!”. It’s applicable to everyone and anyone.

  • It needs to be part of the conversation on diversity in your business.

Top 5 disabilities are invisible

What do you think of first when you hear the word, “disability”? A person who uses a wheelchair? Someone who has Down syndrome?

Many people commonly think of a visible physical or developmental disability when they hear the word, “disability.”

Employment and Social Development Canada says the top five disabilities are:

#1 – Pain (9.7%)

#2 – Flexibility (7.6%)

#3 – Mobility (7.2%)