Employer engagement in disability employment: A missing link for small to medium organizations—A review of the literature

Peer-reviewed article
(2018 Jan) Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Volume 48 417-431


Murfitt, Kevin, Jenny Crosbie, Jessica Zammit, and Greig Williams


Background: There is entrenched exclusion of around half the working age people with disability in Australia and elsewhere. There also appears to be a lack of attention being paid to the ‘demand’ side of efforts to improve the employment of people with disability, particularly in relation to small and medium sized organizations. Objective: To identify gaps in disability employment research, policy, and strategies in relation to small to medium employers; and to identify challenges and potential solutions for these employers in becoming disability confident and inclusive organizations. Methods: A comprehensive search of literature was conducted including published articles, books, and reports. Searches were also conducted on relevant government and disability employment related web sites. Results: First, although larger employers are contributing to the discussion of ways to increase the employment of people with disability, small to medium employers are largely missing from the discussion. Second, reliance on the broad business case argument alone for employing people with disability, is not enough to change attitudes and organizational cultures that are at the root of the workforce exclusion of people with disability. Conclusions: The major barrier to employment of people with disability is negative attitudes that result in discriminatory organizational cultures. Current initiatives in this area are not addressing the needs or potential role of small to medium organizations. Solutions to both these issues are described. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

Livelihood & Social Protection