One Billion People with Disabilities are Key to the Global Economic Recovery in Historically Tight Labor Market: 2021 Disability Equality Index®
ALEXANDRIA, VA. and WASHINGTON, DC. (July 13, 2021)--Disability:IN, the global organization driving disability inclusion and equality in business, in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), today released the 2021 Disability Equality Index® (DEI). A record 272 companies were named as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion," showing strong gains in enhanced benefits, along with flexible workplace accommodations, but leaving room for improvement in leadership and accessibility, all of which are critical for attracting talent in a tight labor market and engaging the one billion people with disabilities worldwide.
The 2021 Annual DEI findings show that one year after the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that execute on disability inclusion priorities are better positioned for growth and long-term sustainability as the global economy recovers and as more institutional investors are tying ESG efforts to disability. Download the DEI here.
"Companies that champion disability inclusion significantly outperform their peers across key financial indices including revenue, net income, profit margins and shareholder returns. AAPD is proud to collaborate with the business community to prioritize industry-wide disability inclusion practices," said Ted Kennedy, Jr., Board Chair of AAPD and Co-Chair of the DEI.
A total of 319 companies participated in the 2021 DEI, the world's most comprehensive benchmarking tool for measuring disability inclusion. The DEI saw 29% year-over-year growth, up from 247 participants. Some highlights:
- Leadership: Only 10% of businesses have a senior executive who identifies as a person with a disability.
- Culture: Although disclosure is tied to job satisfaction and engagement, only 5% of employees on average disclose their disability.
- Benefits: 91% of companies are providing a wellness benefit that extends beyond Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or mental health benefits.
"To make progress in disability inclusion, companies must treat it as a business priority with goals, plans, measurement and accountability. The Disability Equality Index is critical to measuring progress, and in connecting business leaders to best practices and each other as we strive to advance disability inclusion and equality. It has never been more urgent for business to lead change on disability inclusion--and we can only succeed in making progress if we work together," said Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture.
This year's DEI was modernized to ask companies new questions that account for the evolving workplace following COVID-19, such as their investments in innovative technology to advance digital accessibility, the availability of mental health and wellness benefits, paid caregiver leave, supplemental long-term disability insurance, accessible remote and in-person conferencing technologies, and flexible work options for people with disabilities.
"While we experienced fantastic growth in participation, 80 percent of Fortune 1000s have yet to utilize the DEI to identify the tangible actions they can take to advance disability inclusion across their enterprises. Companies that benchmark disability inclusion can learn to provide the caliber of leadership, culture, benefits, and accommodations that's needed to both attract new talent and empower workers with disabilities to thrive," said Jill Houghton, President and CEO, Disability:IN.
About the Disability Equality Index®
The Disability Equality Index (DEI) is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality. Each company receives a score, on a scale of zero (0) to 100, with those earning 80 and above recognized as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion."
The DEI is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation's largest disability rights organization, and Disability:IN, the global business disability inclusion network, to collectively advance the inclusion of people with disabilities. The organizations are complementary and bring unique strengths that make the project relevant and credible to corporations and the disability community. The tool was developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates. Learn more at: www.DisabilityEqualityIndex.org.
About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power for people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the 50+ million Americans with disabilities. Learn more at: www.aapd.com.
Disability:IN is a global organization driving disability inclusion and equality in business. More than 280 corporations trust Disability:IN to activate and achieve disability inclusion across their enterprise and in the broader corporate mainstream. Through the world's most comprehensive disability inclusion benchmarking; best-in-class conferences and programs; and expert counsel and engagement, Disability:IN works with leading businesses to create long-term business and societal impact. Join us at disabilityin.org/AreYouIN #AreYouIN