What is the economic impact of hiring autistic, neurodivergent and disabled talent? Here’s what you need to know.

by Ana Lopez

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

While the world is singing the praises of how disability inclusion has become an integral part of workplace culture, concerns about return on investment remain a major barrier for many organizations to not widely employ autistic, neurodivergent and disabled people. to take. These concerns stem from ignorance at best and competence at worst. In this article, I am going to present nine compelling reasons why disability inclusion not only benefits the workplace but also benefits the overall economy of a community or country in various ways.

1. Higher productivity and lower support costs

Have you ever wondered why a workplace that is homogeneous in terms of a lack of diversity seems to hit a productivity plateau every now and then? Do people lack the motivation to move forward, or does the apparent similarity of thoughts and approaches breed an invisible culture of doing just enough to avoid getting fired?

Autistic, neurodivergent and disabled people can be the missing piece in the productivity puzzle. They often bring unique talents, strengths and perspectives to the workplace, leading to higher productivity, better problem solving and innovation.

In addition, employing autistic, neurodivergent and disabled people helps them become financially independent, which in turn reduces their reliance on government grants while lowering the cost of various community support services such as adult care, according to a PubMed Central® report.

Related: Why Microsoft, Chase, and Others Are Hiring More People With Autism

2. GDP growth

a study by Accenture, Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities revealed that closing the employment gap between people with disabilities and people without disabilities could increase the GDP of the US economy by as much as $25 billion (about $77 per person in The United States). ).

Therefore, it stands to reason that promoting disability-inclusive hiring practices and reducing labor gaps can have a positive impact on a country’s overall economy.

3. Increased consumer spending

As I mentioned earlier, autistics, neurodivergents, and people with disabilities bring innovation and creativity to the workplace. With innovation comes better and more intuitive products and services that cater to a wider range of consumers, leading to higher consumer spending within a given market. It is also possible to create new revenue streams if those products and services are specifically designed for consumers from niche markets such as hearing and vision aids, weight loss supplements, rural telehealth services, gaming, etc.

In addition, when neurodivergent or disabled people are employed, they often have more disposable income to spend on goods and services. This increased spending capacity can help revitalize the economy.

4. Lower sales

Disabled workers often do lower sales figureswhich can reduce the costs of attracting, hiring and training talent.

According to a Job Accommodation Network (JAN) questionnaire, 44% of accommodations for disabled workers cost less than $500, and the rest of the accommodations cost nothing at all. These findings, in contrast to the cost of replacing an employee, which can range from 50% to 200% depending on their annual salary, promote this benefit as reported by Enrich citing a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

5. Increased customer satisfaction

By hiring employees who better represent the diverse customer population, companies provide better customer service and improve overall customer satisfaction.

A Research Gate publication found that 92% of customers were more likely to buy products and services from companies that employ people with disabilities, and 87% said they would prefer to support companies that actively employ people with disabilities.

This brings me to my next point.

Related: 4 Ways Diversity Is Directly Related to Profitability

6. Improving brand reputation

Companies that are committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities are often viewed more favorably by consumers. This leads to more brand loyalty and investment. In addition, the disability community, along with their families and friends, is an important market worth trillions of dollars. By sharing the success stories of disabled employees and their families, companies can create a satisfied and loyal customer base, happy employees and a positive brand image through word of mouth.

7. Tax Benefits

Hiring individuals with disabilities can provide businesses with numerous tax breaks, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Disabled Access Credit, and the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction, among other incentives. The size of these benefits depends on the accommodation the company provides for the employee, potentially resulting in significant credits or revenue.

8. Local economic and environmental impact

Local recruitment of disabled candidates boosts the local economy by creating jobs in the immediate area – jobs that may be impractical for those coming from distant locations due to transportation and relocation issues. When local people are employed, they are more likely to spend their money locally, contributing to the growth of other local businesses. Working locally also means employees can avoid long commutes, reducing their carbon footprint and helping to build a more sustainable future.

9. Social impact

Hiring autistic, neurodivergent and disabled people helps break stereotypes, reduce social stigma and discrimination, promote inclusion and create a positive social impact in the community. When individuals who are autistic, neurodivergent, and disabled see others like them succeed and gain recognition in their communities, it not only benefits them, but everyone who supports them.

Hiring autistic, neurodivergent and disabled people goes beyond altruism. It strengthens an organization’s bottom line and provides numerous broader economic, social and environmental benefits that positively impact the well-being of any community or nation.

Related: How Leaders Can Support and Embrace the Untapped Potential of Neurodiverse Talent

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