A pool of talented and reliable employees

Young female cafe employee using a tablet device for work

Every employer wants reliable employees. Absentee days cost money, so employers want to know that the person they recruit will show up.

According to Australian research, there are many benefits to employing people with an injury, illness or disability, one of which is the fact that they are among the most reliable employees.

After surveying more than 600 Australian organisations about their experiences hiring people with a disability, researchers were able to quantify how reliable these employees were and compare them to others.

They found that employees with a disability took just 62% of the absentee days of average employees. Put another way, employees with a disability take nearly 40% fewer absentee days of the average employee.1

Above average attendance

International studies have mirrored these findings. One of the more widely known studies in this field is the series of surveys conducted by the DuPont Corporation in the United States. In 1958 the corporation began surveying supervisors and managers of employees with disabilities – and repeated the survey in 1973, 1981 and 1990.

Over 30 years, the surveys showed that employees with a disability had a strong attendance record. In some cases, a better attendance record than other employees.2

A more recent US study collected and published the experiences of managers who worked directly with employees with a disability. The managers were from the healthcare, hospitality and retail sectors, and they specifically noted reliability and low absenteeism as a benefit to employing someone with a disability.3

As one retail manager put it: “[An employee with a disability] has been with us for 35 years. He’s never missed a day and he’s never late. So we look at that individual and say ‘Wow! We need more guys like that’.”

  1. Graffam J et al (2002). Employer benefits and costs of employing a person with a disability, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 17(4): 251-263.
  2. United Nations. Disability and Employment Fact Sheet 3. Accessed 7 October 2021.
  3. Hernandez et al (2008). Reflections from Employers on the Disabled Workforce: Focus Groups with Healthcare, Hospitality and Retail Administrators. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 20: 157-164 [DOI 10.1007/s10672-008-9065-5]