In recognition of Disability Pride Month, this week we’re briefly covering the landscape for voluntary disability disclosures among S&P 500 companies. Currently, EEO-1 forms do not include an option for employees to self-identify as disabled, and companies are not legally required to give their employees the option to self-identify (unless the company is a federal contractor with $10,000 or more in contracts). The result is a large swath of employees who fall through the cracks in human capital reporting.
How many disabled workers are there in the U.S.?
There are several estimates of the number of individuals with a physical or mental disability in the U.S., but for this discussion we’re using the CDC’s estimate of 61 million people. We’re also relying on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which surveyed 60,000 households and extrapolated that approximately 31 percent of all working age individuals with disabilities are in the workforce.
Taken together, that means there could be as many as 18 million individuals with disabilities participating in the workforce, and research from Accenture shows that companies with strong disability employment and inclusion practices greatly benefit from their contributions.
Which S&P 500 companies disclose the representation of disabled employees in their workforce?
62 companies, or slightly more than 10 percent of the S&P 500 have disclosed this data at least once in the past three years. This group cuts across industry sectors, and includes companies such as 3M, Accenture, Alaska Air, Alphabet, Caterpillar, GE, Hilton, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Twitter. When we drill down, we see a few interesting statistics – but keep in mind, these figures are not a true representation as they’re based on self-identification, and many employees choose not to provide this information to their employer.
- Collectively, these companies report an average of 5.1% of their employees who self-identify as disabled.
- Seven companies report having ten percent or more of their workforce who self-identify as disabled: Waste Management (20%), Valero Energy (18%), Zions Bank (12%), Capital One (10.9%), Centene (10%), and Lockheed Martin (10%).
- On the low end, three outliers report having one percent or less of their workforce who self-identify as disabled. This trio is Las Vegas Sands (0.2%), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (0.8%), and IBM (1.0%).
- Nearly half of all companies report an increase in the number of self-identified disabled employees since 2019. Of this group, those reporting the most significant increases are Capital One (6.3% increase), Micron (6.1% increase), and Zions Bank (4.1% increase).
- A quick scan shows that at least 1/3 of these companies are federal contractors, which are required to give their employees the ability to disclose their disability under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
What does the future hold for voluntary disability disclosures?
Changes to the way we think about disabilities, an intentionally broad definition of the term under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the spread of COVID-19, and other factors are contributing to an uptick in the number of people who self-identify as disabled.
At the same time, advocacy groups like Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities, elected officials and institutional investors have been prodding the SEC to include disability data in its forthcoming human capital proposal. We believe every organization can benefit from giving their employees the ability to self-identify in a myriad of ways, and we’re on board with this goal too.