Increase your market share
Companies are beginning to recognize the value of people with disabilities as a target market. People with disabilities want quality products and services at competitive prices. People with disabilities will patronize businesses that are sensitive to their needs and know how to accommodate them.
- More than one in five Americans — approximately 54 million — have a disability.1
- Thirty percent of the nation’s 69.6 million families have at least one member with a disability.2
- Approximately 41 million people with disabilities are heads of households.3
- People with disabilities have the most buying power of any traditionally underrepresented group, with more than $220 billion in discretionary income, which does not include families and friends.4
Hiring individuals with disabilities can enhance your company’s brand image with consumers.
A 2005 study conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education at UMass Boston shows that consumers have positive attitudes towards businesses that hire individuals with disabilities. When asked “what information about a company would give you a favorable impression of that company,” hiring individuals with disabilities was third on the list after offering health insurance and protecting the environment.
The study showed that 92 percent of consumers surveyed felt more favorable toward businesses that hire individuals with disabilities, and 87 percent of consumers surveyed said they would prefer to patronize businesses that hire individuals with disabilities.
Diversity Supplier Programs
Small business development is a substantial form of employment for several minority populations — and people with disabilities are no exception.
According to recent studies, self-employment rates were highest among individuals with disabilities.5 However, supplier companies owned by Americans with disabilities do not currently have a third party that is willing to certify them.
In response, the U.S. Business Leadership Network is developing and launching a Disability Supplier Program that will assist corporations to add Disabled Business Enterprises to the supply chain.
- Recognize that the disability market is a diverse one.
- Define how and why the disability market needs your products and services.
- Devise simple modifications to make existing products and services accessible to people with disabilities.
- Include people with disabilities in product development.
- Ensure that advertising and promotion strategies reach people with disabilities.
- UMass Boston Center for Social Development and Education Consumer Attitudes Survey was one of the first studies that examined the attitudes of consumers toward companies that hire people with disabilities.
- Workforce Management features IBM, a company that has a long history of creating technology for people with disabilities and hiring workers with disabilities.
- Essential Accessibility is a provider of software-based services that makes online environments fully accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.
1U.S. Census Bureau, 2000; The National Organization on Disability/Harris Interactive Poll of Americans with Disabilities, 2004.
2U.S. Census Bureau, 2000; The National Organization on Disability/Harris Interactive Poll of Americans with Disabilities, 2004.
3Simmons Market Research Bureau, “Within Our Reach: Finding and Recommendations of the National Task Force on Technology and Disability”, 2000.
5U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, “The Small Business Economy for Data Year 2006, A Report to the President”, December 2007, p. 12.