Disability and Regulatory Approaches to Employer Engagement: Cross-National Challenges in Bridging the Gap between Motivation and Hiring Practice
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This article examines why employers struggle to include disability as part of their active diversity approach. Drawing on cross-national interview data from Norway and the USA, we point to the common finding of employers – who are the target of regulatory disability employment policies – typically falling into the passive employer category of employer engagement, with positive attitudes but negative hiring behaviour. As a partial explanation, we demonstrate the difficulty of identifying and demographically monitoring disabled people among job seekers and employees. We argue that these problems are linked to unique aspects of disability as a diversity category, and tie these to the significance of disability heterogeneity, lack of disclosure and the difficulty of acquiring information related to health. We conclude that organisations need to go beyond mere legislative compliance and be more proactive towards disability as a distinct diversity category.