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results from the 2017 DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT tracker

Benchmarks and trends in corporate employment practices aggregated from companies participating in the 2017 Disability Employment Tracker™, NOD's confidential, annual survey.

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What is the Tracker?

The Disability Employment Tracker™ examines five essential inclusion areas:

Climate & Culture; Talent Sourcing; People Practices; Workplace & Technology; Strategy & Metrics

To discover how businesses are progressing in their disability inclusion journey:

The NOD Disability Employment Maturity Curve: 1. Exploration; 2. Compliance; 3. Competence; 4. Competitive Advantage

Who Takes the Tracker?

In 2017, the Tracker measured practices and outcomes of 175+ companies—that together employ over 2.4 million workers.

1,000 or less employees: 5%; 1,000 - 10,00 employees: 23%; 10,000 - 50,000 employees: 44%; 50,000+ employees: 28%

Progress Against Goals

The most important disability inclusion driver is getting and keeping talent

Progress is slow: On average, workforce representation of people with disabilities is below the Dept. of Labor target of 7%; only 7% of companies have reached that target.

3.2% Average percentage of employees identifying as having a disability

Certain industries are leading the way in adopting disability inclusion best practices. The 2017 performance average of all companies is 62 percent.

Pharma/biotech: 69%; Transport/Comm/Utilities: 68%; Energy: 64%; Services: 64%; Financial Services: 63%; Hospitals & Healthcare: 62%; Insurance: 60%; Manufacturing: 56%; Consumer Products/Retail: 46%

Leading Practices

Companies with a higher than average representation of people with disabilities (> 4%) share these practices:

Strategy & Metrics: Senior leaders discuss/publicly promote overall diversity; Plan for improving disability inclusion practices; Diversity champion accountable to drive disability strategy. Culture & Climate: Employee/business resource groups or affinity groups; Disability-specific employee/business resource group with annual budget. Talent Sourcing: Recruiters know how to find accommodation process. People Practices: Post-offer and pre-employment, new hires asked if accommodation needed. Workplace & Technology: Universal design principles applied in new facility buildouts.


Disability still lags behind overall diversity in some areas, like employee resources groups and public promotion by senior leaders.

Employee Resource Groups: Diversity, 93%; Disability, 59%.  Senior Leaders Public Promotion: Diversity, 94%; Disability, 77%.

Hard measures, including managers' and employees' performance reviews, are not being used to drive accountability for developing disability inclusion skills.

Performance reviews include disability: Managers', 25%; Employees' 18%.

Communication campaigns to raise disability self-identification rates not widely used and not generating expected outcomes, suggesting improvements are needed.

Implemented a disability self-ID campaign: 55%; If yes, self-ID rates increase: 42%.

Strong use of community partnerships to source talent with disabilities, but companies are not seeing hiring results.

Has community partners to source candidates with disabilities: 80%; Has hired candidates sourced from these community partners: 53%


Veteran inclusion practices are trending high, but target employment outcomes remain low.

22% of companies reporting workforce representation of veterans of 7% or more (Dept. of Labor benchmark 6.9%)

Track status in HRIS: 86%; Track ratio of veterans hired to all hires: 81%

Advance Your Workforce

Haven’t taken the Tracker yet? Sign up today. Access extensive benchmarking and leading practices customized to your business goals with the Disability Inclusion Accelerator.

The Disability Employment Tracker™ was developed in partnership with The National Business and Disability Council at The Viscardi Center and Mercer-Sirota.