IIT Madras researchers conducted a study on the disparities in employment rates among people with disabilities. Dr. Lata Dyaram and her doctoral student, Vasanthi Suresh, conducted the research. The study’s findings were published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Emerald Insight. Employers play a critical role in creating employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities (PWD). Dr Lata Dayaram and Dr Vasanthi Suresh conducted a study to determine how leaders’ perceptions of disability affect their decision to recruit from this untapped talent pool. Additionally, the study demonstrates how unconscious biases influence employers’ decisions to hire individuals with specific types of disabilities over others.
- Researchers from IIT Madras conducted a study based on the differences in employment rates among persons with disabilities.
- The study’s findings were published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Emerald Insight.
- Dr. Lata Dayaram and Dr Vasanthi Suresh conducted the study to determine how leaders’ perceptions of disability affect their decision to recruit from this untapped talent pool.
- They found out that while the disparity in. employment rates between persons with. disabilities and the rest of the workforce has been highlighted as a cause for concern in several studies, factors. contributing to the differences. in employment. rates within the heterogenous group of people with disabilities has received less attention.
- Dr Lata Dyaram said, “While most employers may believe in DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), many hold back when it comes to hiring people with disability as disability is often seen as potential cost/risk”
Researchers from IIT Madras conducted a study based on the differences in employment rates among persons with disabilities. The study found out that while the disparity in employment rates between persons with disabilities and the rest of the workforce has been highlighted as a cause for concern in several studies, factors contributing to the differences in employment rates within the heterogenous group of people with disabilities has received less attention.
Further, this study explored leaders’ perspectives on the key factors that direct their decisions regarding the targeted recruitment of persons with various types of disabilities.
The research team
The research was undertaken by Dr. Lata Dyaram, Associate Professor, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, and her doctoral student, Vasanthi Suresh, and the findings of this research were recently published in the reputed peer-reviewed journal Emerald Insight.
What were the major findings of the study?
Highlighting the key findings of this study, Dr. Lata Dyaram, Associate Professor, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, said, “Based on interviews with leaders of 17 public and private sector organizations, the study reiterates the uneven representation of persons with various types of disabilities in organizations and identified some organization-specific determinants (such as knowledge about the type of disability, work characteristics, accommodations, accessibility and external pressures) that shape employer decision.”
Elaborating on how such disparities in employment within the differently-abled community can be addressed, Dr. Lata Dyaram said, “While most employers may believe in DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), many hold back when it comes to hiring people with disabilities as disability is often seen as potential cost/risk.”
What needs to be done?
The study recommends:
- Paradigm shift in talent strategies to collaborate and realize a diverse talent base.
- As the nature and future of work is changing, inclusive job analysis and cost-effective short-term workarounds.
- Inclusive workplaces with adoption of universal design principles or alternatively effective aids, assistive technologies and reasonable accommodations.
- Leveraging a supportive external ecosystem, towards inclusive workplaces.
- Leadership, and collaborative value creation of the workforce by participation from non-disabled employees/colleagues.
How can hiring managers be sensitized?
According to Dr. Lata Dyaram, “it is important to sensitize hiring managers to first acknowledge that everyone holds unconscious beliefs and biases can stem from our attempts to organize and hence end up categorizing people.”
- To help hiring managers overcome their biases, she recommended:
- Sensitization and awareness to help make informed decisions.
- Support and encouragement towards diverse panel/hiring managers.
- Challenging assumptions and monitoring your own behavior.
- Setting ground rules and data-driven approaches.
Significance of the study
Speaking on the significance of such research, Vasanthi Suresh said, “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act mentions 21 types of disabilities whereas studies indicate that only persons with certain types of disabilities are represented on an employee basis in organizations.”
She added, “Therefore, since employers are key stakeholders in generating employment opportunities and building inclusive workplaces, we focused on a less-explored area of how disability type influences leaders’ decision of recruiting from this untapped talent pool. “
What are the major issues PWD face in workspaces?
“The study is focused on employers’ perspectives,” explained Dr Lata Dayaram.
She added, “However, literature is replete with some of the common issues faced by persons with disabilities as those related to stigma/ stereotypes, discrimination, inaccessible infrastructure and lack of reasonable workplace accommodations and so on.”
Continuing her statement, she said, “Our study highlights that all issues faced by PwD are not the same. There is diversity in disability and hence we need inclusive strategies.”
Are unconscious biases more severe for a particular disability?
“Appears to be. All primarily from lack of knowledge and education. More empirical research and studies are needed to substantiate it though,” said Dr. Lata Dyaram.
She added, “Fortunately, things might change as the definition of disability is undergoing a change.”
What makes the study unique?
Dr. Lata Dyaram explained, “Our study is unique in not only acknowledging diversity in disability but also highlights how disability type directs employers’ decisions on hiring persons with certain types of disabilities over others.
She further said, “It also triggers conversations among key stakeholders on the inclusion and integration of persons with various types of disabilities in the workforce towards harnessing diverse talent.”
Source-India Today and IIT Madras
The disparity in employment rates between persons with disabilities & the remaining workforce hinders their poverty alleviation. A research team from @iitmadras conducted a study that captures stereotype views or unconscious biases that act as a deterrent to hiring them.#Divyang pic.twitter.com/FUHmsTTOGl— IIT Madras (@iitmadras) November 29, 2021