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NEW YORK — When it comes to the modern workplace, it’s all of us or none of us, according to a new survey. A majority of Americans believe companies need to value accessibility and inclusion in their hiring practices.

The poll of 1,000 employed Americans and 1,000 employed Americans with disabilities found that nine in 10 respondents think it’s 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 percent of Americans with disabilities believe that their disability has limited their career opportunities. Forty-three percent of all respondents believed that people with disabilities don’t receive 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,” says Richard Belden, president and CEO of SourceAmerica, in a statement.

disabilities workplace

Workplace bias affects many Americans

A majority (59%) of those with disabilities said they’ve left their job due to discriminatory acts, while only 26 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 both private and 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 percent federal contracting goal for the AbilityOne Program,” adds 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.”

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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).

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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