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Job Quality for Americans with Disabilities

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Research Summary


In recent decades — and particularly since the Great Recession — research shows that the number of low-quality, wage stagnant jobs are on the rise. Agreed-upon metrics tell us that "good jobs" pay above-average wages, offer health insurance, and gave retirement benefit options. This study looked at the likelihood that people with disabilities have “good quality” jobs compared to workers with no disability.

Key Findings

  • Only 21.6% of workers with a disability had jobs that could be considered good, compared to 26.2% of workers without disabilities.
  • People with disabilities who worked full-time had a 15% lower chance of holding a good job than workers without disabilities.
  • Full-time jobs were more than four times more likely to meet the good job criteria than part-time jobs.
  • People with disabilities were found to be significantly more likely to work part time than nondisabled peers.
  • Health status was a more significant indicator of a person's ability to get and keep a good job than disability.
  • The higher a person's educational level, the more likely they were to have a good job.

Put It Into Practice

Tips and tools to help you apply best practices at work.

    • Partner with employers to institute workplace health programs—including innovative disability management— to attract and retain qualified people with disabilities.
    • Increase post-secondary education opportunities for people with disabilities through partnerships with schools, colleges, and community services.
    • Advocate for in-school supports for people with disabilities to acclimate them to working environments and work skills.
    • Encourage employer partners to attract and keep good employees by providing above average rates of pay, health insurance, and retirement savings programs.

More about this Research

Researchers drew data from the Current Population Survey's monthly statistics on disability, and the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Along with disability they included sex, age, educational attainment, race, urban or city, and health status characteristics.

Learn More

Brucker, D. & Henley, M. (2019). Job quality for Americans with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 50 (3), 121-130.