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Did you know?

  • People with disabilities represent 15% of the global population. But it’s estimated that close to 80% aren’t employed1.
  • Eighty percent of people with disabilities acquire their disability between the ages of 18 and 64
  • One of the biggest barriers to workplace accessibility is not technological or architectural, but rather attitudinal.

As we recognize International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) on December 3, we break down barriers to enable people of all abilities to realize their full potential.

Visible and invisible

Some disabilities are not immediately obvious to others; however, they all come with their own sets of challenges. It’s helpful to understand who is considered a person with disabilities in order to grasp the realities they face.

Our survey categorized respondents as persons with disabilities if they reported that they have difficulty performing day-to-day activities (e.g., walking, communicating, hearing, seeing even if wearing glasses) because of a mental, intellectual, sensory or physical health condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least six months.

So, when it comes to the workplace, are persons with disabilities empowered to thrive?

Accenture’s Getting to Equal 2020: Disability Inclusion research2  shows that most persons with disabilities feel excluded at one point or another. In fact, employees with disabilities are 27% less likely to feel “included” in the workplace and 60% more likely to feel “excluded,” compared with the average.

Most employees with disabilities cite freedom to be themselves and having role models as important. But 76% of employees and 80% of executives are not fully open about their disability in the workplace.

Moreover, a cultural change is hampered by perception gaps. While 67% of executives believe they create environments where employees with disabilities can thrive, just 41% of employees agree. And only 20% of employees feel fully supported by their employer.

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Our research shows that employees with disabilities are 27% less likely to feel “included” in the workplace.

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The Inclusion Playbook

So, how do you drive inclusion in the workplace?

Start with inspiration from companies that build cultures that let persons with disabilities flourish. Microsoft, Bounteous, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), GINgroup, Intuit, Sony, Accenture and Lemon Tree Hotels are a few examples of companies that unlock inclusivity.

How do they do it?

They embody eight workplace factors our research identifies that positively correlate with thriving, inclusive workplaces. They include:

  1. Clear role models
  2. Employee resource groups
  3. Parental leave
  4. Fair and transparent pay
  5. Training
  6. Flexible working options
  7. Freedom to innovate
  8. Mental well-being policies

We call the top 10% of workplaces—where these eight workplace factors are most common—"more equal” cultures.

If all companies had cultures that were as equal as the top 10%, the likelihood of an employee with disability being engaged rises by as much as 50%. A range of studies have shown that teams are more productive when employees are engaged3, and our analysis shows that companies led by executives who are focused on disability engagement are growing sales (2.9x) and profits (4.1x) faster than their peers.

Enabling change

In a world turned upside down by a pandemic, we believe in building trust to leave both our people and our business net better off. We care to do better.

Recognizing the value each person brings, Accenture is committed to inclusion for all our people. We strive for best-in-class practices—from digital accessibility and flexible work arrangements to other workplace accommodations—that empower our people to contribute value in meaningful ways.

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Our Accessibility Center of Excellence (CoE), along with Accessibility Centers in seven different locations around the world, provides spaces to interact with accessible technology and demonstrate accessible design leadership and best practices.

Today, the vast majority of our work applications are accessible. And access to assistive technology, sign language interpreters, screen readers and more are available by request.

We’ve also put in place a unique internal development program for persons with disabilities to become authentic leaders and role models.

When it comes to disability inclusion, we live one of our core values—respect for the individual—every day. Together, we are enabling change.

Find out more about how we empower people of all abilities.


Copyright © 2020 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and New Applied Now are trademarks of Accenture.

This document makes descriptive reference to trademarks that may be owned by others. The use of such trademarks herein is not an assertion of ownership of such trademarks by Accenture and is not intended to represent or imply the existence of an association between Accenture and the lawful owners of such trademarks.



 [1]  “Disability inclusion”; World Bank (2020) via https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/disability  & “Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities”; UN DESA; https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/resources/factsheet-on-persons-with-disabilities.html

 2  The research draws on a global survey of companies across industries of almost 6,000 employees with disabilities, 1,748 executives (of whom 675 have disabilities) and 50 video interviews.

3 The Right Culture: Not Just About Employee Satisfaction; Gallup (2017); https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236366/right-culture-not-employee-satisfaction.aspx


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