Demand-side factors related to employment of people with disabilities: A survey of employers in the midwest region of the United States

Fong Chan, David Strauser, Patrick Maher, Eun Jeong Lee, Robin Jones, Ebonee T. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Traditional vocational services ignore variables related to employer demands and the interaction of employer demand and the environment) as predictors of employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Recently, rehabilitation researchers have begun to advocate for the use of demand-side employment models to help people with disabilities obtain and retain employment. Aim To examine demand-side employment factors that may influence hiring and retention of people with physical disabilities. Method: One hundred and thirty two human resources (HR) managers and line managers were surveyed and the data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple regression and correlation analysis. Results: Managers rated people with disabilities' productivity and reliability between the neutral and agree range. Managers were neutral about their own knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and job accommodation and were similarly neutral about their company's effort to include disability in the company's diversity efforts. Hiring efforts were associated with the company's diversity climate and inclusion of disability in diversity efforts. A hierarchical regression was conducted with results indicating that the demand side factors accounted for a significant portion of the variance in commitment to hire; knowledge of ADA and job accommodation and inclusion of disability in diversity efforts were found to be significantly associated with commitment of the company to hire people with disabilities. Conclusions: HR and hiring managers in the current study were not overly enthusiastic about people with disabilities as reliable and productive employees. ADA and job accommodations training might improve these managers' attitudes toward people with disabilities. Intervention at the senior management level should focus on changing company policies to include disability as part of the company's diversity efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-419
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Attitudes toward disability
  • Demand-side employment
  • Occupational rehabilitation
  • Return to work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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