According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year only 19.3% of people with a disability were employed, while the employment-population ratio for people without a disability was 66.3%.
These numbers are also supported by the New York Times study which indicated that employers were 26% less likely to interview job candidates with disabilities.
Even though the world has made lots of progress in recent years, employment and wage gaps still get larger when it comes to disability.
Often, employers just do not see the benefits of including Deaf and hard-of-hearing people in their teams. Therefore, we’ve compiled the list of some of the many reasons why you should hire Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
1. Building an inclusive workplace
Hiring a diverse workforce will definitely provide equal opportunities for all people with the relevant qualifications, and thus, will help uplift the community. It’s proven that inclusion produces happier and more productive employees.
However, it is also important to foster an inclusive workplace culture where all people are respected and appreciated. This will help you create a safe and welcoming workplace reflecting your culture and values and empowering employees to be their best at work.
Unfortunately, Deaf and hard-of-hearing people have to overcome obstacles in every aspect of their lives even with some minor things that hearing people usually take for granted.
However, this is what makes people with hearing loss more patient, flexible, and adaptable to any situation that may occur in the workplace.
3. Reducing turnover & increasing employee loyalty
According to the research by the University of New Hampshire, the turnover rate among people with disabilities is just 20%. However, their non-disabled coworkers had a turnover rate of 45% in 2019.
Another great illustration would be the Chicago Marriott that has experienced lower overall turnover after they began hiring people with disabilities. Their turnover rate decreased to 32% per year when the turnover rate within the hotel industry was generally around 50%.
4. High quality of work
Many studies have indicated that workers with disabilities are considered to be dependable, loyal, and responsible by their employers.
For example, the Institute for Corporate Productivity reported that 3 out of 4 employers surveyed ranked their employees with disabilities as good or very good on work quality, motivation, engagement, integration with coworkers, dependability, and attendance.
5. Hard workers
Since people with hearing loss have to overcome many obstacles in their professional lives, they also tend to work harder to secure their position and are often looking for opportunities for career advancement.
6. Communication tools
While many employers are afraid that they won’t be able to communicate with Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, the truth is that they can also use digital business communication tools that help them efficiently execute their jobs. Moreover, you can hire a professional ASL interpreter to make the communication process easier.
7. Social responsibility
Being a socially responsible company can sustain your company’s image and build your brand. In fact, 40% of consumers seek brands with a clearly defined mission and trust in brands that act in the best interest of society.
Moreover, corporate social responsibility can also allow employees to leverage the company resources at their disposal for social good.
8. Great Deaf and hard of hearing recruitment services
There are lots of affordable services that allow employers to post their Deaf job opportunities online, which, in a long run, will help them save so much time and money on their hiring process and receive applications from qualified and experienced individuals looking for employment.
You might consider services like Communication Service for the Deaf, DCARA, DeafJobWizard, and Understood.
9. Work opportunity tax credit
Many employers do not know this, but businesses can receive a tax credit of up to $9,600 for having Deaf and hard of hearing people work in their companies.
Other tax incentives for employers who are employing disabled people include the Disabled Access Credit and the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction.
10. More than the right thing to do
From a social perspective, hiring Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees seems to be the right thing to do. But all of the points mentioned above clearly indicate that it is much more than that, and can also bring lots of business benefits for your company.
All in all, as you are trying to fill open positions, consider hiring qualified Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Hiring a competent Deaf professional will bring benefits to your company’s bottom line, your culture, your customers, and the community in general.