by Paolo Gaudiano and Ellen Hunt
Originally published: June 12, 2017
One of the most tangible benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion is a company’s ability to attract a broader pool of qualified talent. Conversations about being more inclusive in the workplace focus mostly on gender and race, sometimes on sexuality and age, and only rarely on other forms of diversity. However, a significant opportunity exists for organizations to tap into a large pool of people with disabilities: in 2015, 11% of working-age individuals in the U.S. identified as having a disability, but full-time employment among this group was only 35%, with more than one million individuals reporting they were actively seeking work. And this figure does not include the large numbers of highly talented people with disabilities who are not seeking work because they choose instead to start their own businesses.
Some organizations have turned disabilities into a competitive advantage. For instance, ULTRA Testing, Aspiritech, MindSpark and Auticon (which recently received an investment from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group) have found that individuals who fall on the autistic spectrum can excel at a variety of IT-related tasks.