Professionals with disabilities more likely to be stuck in entry level positions: report

A recent report highlighted a progression gap among professionals with disabilities in Canada.

Photo credit: CoWomen

A recent report conducted by global recruiter Robert Walters highlighted a progression gap among professionals with disabilities in Canada and revealed that they are more likely to be stuck in training or entry-level positions.

The report featured more than 6,000 professionals in North America who delved into workplace diversity and inclusion.

According to the report, professionals with learning disabilities face a significant imbalance in their representation in leadership roles, with only 7 per cent holding executive positions. Moreover, professionals without disabilities have seen nearly 20 per cent more promotions compared to their counterparts with learning or sensory disabilities.

Within the realm of professionals with learning disabilities, one out of every five feels a lack of support, the findings from the report revealed. This shortage of assistance is echoed by the fact that 40 per cent of women with learning disabilities have not encountered promotional opportunities. Women with physical disabilities, however, who outnumber men, expressed a feeling of being underpaid by 67 per cent.

This scenario underscores that disabled professionals confront a considerable setback in their career progress, with a 23 per cent higher probability of being stuck in junior or entry-level roles compared to their non-disabled peers.  It unveiled that a quarter of professionals with mental health-related disabilities were entirely unaware of avenues for advancement within their respective organizations.

The report also highlighted the obstacles that disabled professionals encounter on their path to career progression. Alarmingly, one out of five professionals with learning disabilities reported insufficient resources and time to excel in their roles.

Gender-based disparities are also stark within the realm of disabled professionals. A striking 40 per cent of women with learning disabilities disclosed that they had not been promoted within their current companies, while only 12 per cent of men with similar disabilities reported the same. Furthermore, disabled women expressed a profound sense of being undervalued in their remuneration, with 67 per cent more women with physical disabilities than men feeling this way.

“The lack of clear signposting for career progression is a major challenge for disabled professionals across Canada. Companies must implement comprehensive and accessible training programs to ensure all employees have equal access to information and opportunities,” said Coral Bamgboye, global head of ED&I at Robert Walters.

“To create more inclusive work environments, employers must address the specific challenges faced by disabled professionals. Creating a supportive workplace culture that values and accommodates diverse abilities is crucial for promoting career growth across all professionals.”

The report also revealed a direct connection between the barriers faced by professionals with disabilities in terms of career advancement and their earnings. More than 60 per cent of professionals with learning disabilities earned salaries up to $28,000 less compared to their non-disabled counterparts. Additionally, findings revealed that professionals without disabilities earned salaries exceeding $75,000 in contrast to those with mental health-related disabilities. Moreover, almost half of professionals with mental health-related disabilities expressed feeling underpaid at their workplaces, compared to 31 per cent of professionals without disabilities.