One in three. That’s how many people in today’s professional U.S. workplace are estimated to have a disability, whether visible or hidden, according to a first-of-its-kind study released in October 2017 by the U.S.-based Center for Talent Innovation (CTI). Of the 30% of employees with disabilities, less than 3% of them report their condition to their employers for fear of negative bias.
The numbers are in, and it’s time to focus on creating a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities in the workplace.
The 2017 CTI Global Disabilities Inclusion report, sponsored by Accenture and other companies, surveyed thousands of professional employees in the U.S. as well as in five key markets: Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and the United Kingdom. While each country has its own definitions, laws and cultural norms surrounding disabilities, they all share one common imperative: a need to build a stronger, more supportive work environment for employees with disabilities to reach their full potential.
The numbers paint a similar picture around the globe. The CTI study reveals:
Because of cultural stigmas in Brazil, 61% of people who disclose their disabilities at work feel their colleagues insult them, and 42% feel their colleagues underestimate their intelligence.
Only 31% of people in Germany with disabilities have disclosed them to their employer, due to fear that a disability will be seen as a weakness or abnormality.
Due to a strong cultural stigma in India, 74% of those who disclose disabilities report never achieving a position of power, no matter how high performing they are in their jobs.
In Japan, around 30% of employees with disabilities disclose them to their employer, and 41% of those people report feeling isolated at work. Only 15% feel that they’re being promoted quickly.
Nearly 70% of people with disabilities in the U.K. haven’t disclosed their condition to their employer; 33% of those people say they haven’t disclosed for fear of negative bias at work.
Only 13% of people in the U.S. with invisible disabilities disclose them to their employers. Of those who do disclose, only 26% feel they are being promoted quickly.
Inclusion and acceptance enable success and innovation. When they feel included, people with disabilities bring unique strengths to their companies—agility, empathy, innovation and persistence, as well as problem-solving and strategic planning skills. Companies like Accenture are dedicated to inclusion and diversity, encouraging employees to disclose disabilities so they can bring their full, true selves to work and get the support they need.
For more information about the CTI Disabilities and Inclusion study, visit talentinnovation.org.
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