By Margaret Hansen
As skilled, unemployed job seekers struggle to re-enter the workforce following a job loss, there are countless others whose situation creates barriers, leaving them at the far reaches of consideration for a job. They are disabled and minority workers. But not only does this untapped job seeker pool need you, you need them.
"Being known in the community as a place where one can get a good job, regardless of ethnicity, ability or gender is a good thing and it creates a better community," Manpower's VP and Regional Director April Clark from the Auburn, Maine office, said. "It also fosters a wonderful recruiting and retention tool. Employees see others that are similar to them, easing their transition into the organization."
Here are some other benefits that you may not know about...
With the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, you can reduce your (employer) federal tax liability on new hires by as much as $2,400. This tax credit encourages you to hire from the following eight targeted job seeker groups:
- Welfare recipients
- 18-24 year-old food stamp recipients
- Vocational Rehabilitation referrals
- SSI recipients
- 18-24 year-old EZ/EC residents
- 16-17 year-old EZ/EC residents
Also, businesses with 30 or fewer employees or $1,000,000 or less per year in total revenue can receive a tax credit for the cost of accommodations provided to an employee (or customer) with a disability. This credit covers 50 percent of eligible expenditures up to $10,000 (with a maximum credit per year of $5,000).
A recent DePaul study looked at employees across three industry sectors - hospitality, retail and healthcare. Although there was variation within sectors, overall, those with disabilities (compared to those without disabilities):
- Had fewer absences
- Stayed on the job longer
- Had nearly identical job performance ratings
Good for Business
According to a National Survey of Consumer Attitudes towards Companies that Hire People with Disabilities (a 2006 study by America's Strength Foundation, The Gallup Organization and the Center for Survey Research):
- 92 percent of the American public view companies that hire people with disabilities more favorably than those that do not
- 87 percent of the public would prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities.
According to the American Sociological Association, workplace diversity is among the most important predictors of a business' sales revenue, customer numbers and profitability. Their studies found that a workforce comprised of employees of both genders and varying racial backgrounds resulted in positive business outcomes.
Companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with the lowest levels of racial diversity. The same rings true of gender diversity: those companies reporting the most gender diversity raked in 14 times the sales revenue of those companies with the lowest levels of gender diversity.
"Being a company that embraces diversity at every level has improved our fill rates," said Clark. "We're placing more candidates, better and faster than our competitors."
Employee Assistance Referral Network (EARN)
Be sure to check out the Employee Assistance Referral Network (EARN), a free service and resource, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor which puts employers in touch with qualified candidates who also happen to have a disability.
"By 2050, US population will be 52 percent people of color," said Clark. "We need to build relationships now and prepare our workforce for tomorrow."