Employees With Disability Are More Dissatisfied With Their Bosses Than Others, Disability Employee Engagement Survey Finds


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to prioritize diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Though there have been improvements in making workplaces more diverse, we are still far from breaking the glass ceiling. What is worse is that employees with disabilities seem to be left out of any development.

Recently Global Disability Inclusion, in partnership with Mercer, released findings from a 10-year studyOpens a new window to highlight the problems faced by differently-abled workers. After analyzing corporate survey data on the experiences of employees with disabilities compared to their non-disabled colleagues, the study revealed that the former is significantly less engaged and dissatisfied with their work, their companies, and managers. Their employment experiences also rank lower than all other diversity groups.

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How Do Disabled Employees Feel in Workplaces?

The report findings revealed that employees with disabilities score less favorably than those without disabilities. In fact, in no instance did employees with disabilities score higher on any employment element when compared to those who did not identify as having a disability, or any other diversity segment.

The study further revealed that employees with disability are more uncomfortable expressing their ideas/views without negative consequences than other employees. When asked if their company treated employees regardless of their age, family/marital status, gender, disability, race/color, religion, or sexual orientation, only 70% of disabled workers agreed. Also, fewer disabled people feel that they are valued by their company (63%).

When it comes to what is expected of them and how they are compensated, differently abled employees are generally dissatisfied. The study revealed that only a little more than 60% of them are satisfied with their benefits package, while only a little more than half feel that they are fairly compensated.

Disabled People Rarely Experience Workplace Achievement

Around 55% of disabled people feel that they are recognized by the management for their work, compared to 67% (approx.) of non-disabled employees. Less than 50% of disabled employees feel they have the opportunity for achievement, compared to almost 60% of those who are not.

Also, fewer disabled employees feel that their career goals can be met at their current company.

Tarnishing Relations With Their Bosses

Differently abled employees do not feel as comfortable as others in reporting unethical behavior or practices because of fear of retaliation. The study revealed that they even rated their faith in leadership as -7 points lower than their non-disabled counterparts.

Moreover, only 75% (approx.) of employees with disability feel that their managers support their professional development.

As a result, engagement among disabled employees is lower. Only a little more than 75% are satisfied with their company and only around 65% of them are likely to recommend the company. Also, when it comes to taking pride in the company and going out of one’s way to make the company successful, people with disability fall at least -5 lower than others.

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In Closing

A diverse company’s responsibility does not end with hiring an employee from different races, sexuality, and various disabilities. Instead, companies should focus on employee experience more as discrimination is difficult to remove.

Unfortunately, the Global Disability Inclusion study revealed that companies are falling far behind when it comes to providing a favorable environment for disabled employees. They should realize their approach for onboarding and engagement must be different for disabled employees. Until and unless this is done, a company cannot become truly diverse.