Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Erickson, W. A., von Schrader, S., Bruyère, M., VanLooy, S. A., & Matteson, S. (2014). Disability-inclusive employer practices and hiring of individuals with disabilities.. Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education,, 28 (4), 309-328.
Title:  Disability-inclusive employer practices and hiring of individuals with disabilities.
Authors:  Erickson, W. A., von Schrader, S., Bruyère, M., VanLooy, S. A., & Matteson, S.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education,
Publisher:  Springer Publishing Company
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Mixed methods

Structured abstract:

Background:  People with disabilities have high rates of unemployment. During the recession, of 2007 to 2009, they were five times more likely to leave the workforce than people without disabilities. This led to a 9% decline in their representation in the labor pool. Although people without disabilities are returning to the workforce, this is not occurring for individuals with disabilities.
Purpose:  The goal of this study was to examine employer disability inclusive policies and determine the relationship between existing practices and the actual recruitment and hiring of individuals with disabilities.
Setting:  The surveys were completed in various business settings across the United States.
Study sample:  The participants were 339 human resource professionals, who worked for private businesses and belonged to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Intervention:  There was no intervention.
Control or comparison condition:  There was no control or comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  A survey, of best practices and polices related to disability and employment, was developed. To start, an extensive review of the literature, other employer surveys, and bench marking tools was conducted to identify initial items to include. Then this information was reviewed by various collaborators and other experts. The survey was then revised based on their feedback. The final instrument covered: employment policies and procedures related to recruitment and hiring, training, accessibility and accommodation, and retention and advancement. The scale was designed to measure both implementation and effectiveness. The survey was fielded using a mixed method data collection procedure that included online and telephone based surveys. A random sample of HR professionals were selected and asked to participate in the study. Human resource professionals assessed their organization's implementation of disability policies and practices, as well as their perception of the effectiveness of the identified policies and practices. If a practice was in development or under review it was categorized as not in place.
Findings:  The majority or 83% of the respondents were from for profit businesses; whereas about 25% were federal contractors. A little over half of the respondents had a human resources related job title. On average respondents had worked for the organization for 9 years or longer. About a third or 33% of those surveyed had hired one or more employees with disabilities during the previous 12 months. Disability recruitment and hiring practices, particularly those aimed at identifying qualified individuals with disabilities, had the power to reduce the employment gap for individuals with disabilities. Organizational characteristics that were significant predictors of implementing policies included: organizational size, mid sized and large are more likely to implement practices than small businesses. Certain industries were more disability friendly such as federal contractors, and non profit organizations. Nine of ten employer practices were found to have an impact. The top two were having internships for people with disabilities and strong senior management commitment. Evaluation of preemployment screenings was not significant. Employers who had implemented on practice were more likely to have implemented another one.
Conclusions:  Vocational rehabilitation professionals need to be aware of practices employers can use to find and hire qualified workers with disabilities. More research is needed.

Outcomes:  Employment acquisition