What types of jobs do people with disabilities want?

Mohammad Ali, Lisa Schur, Peter Blanck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Introduction Do non-employed people with disabilities want to work, and if so, what types of jobs do they want? Researchers seeking to explain the low employment rate among people with disabilities have focused primarily on skill gaps, employment disincentives from disability income, accommodation mandates, and (to a lesser extent) employer attitudes and unwelcoming corporate cultures. There has been little attention paid to the attitudes of non-employed people with disabilities. Methods This paper uses the 2006 General Social Survey, a representative national survey of US adults that has disability information and a special supplement on worker preferences, to examine the above question. Results We find that, relative to their non-disabled counterparts, non-employed people with disabilities are (a) as likely to want a job but less likely to be actively searching, (b) as likely to have prior job experience, and (c) similar in their views of the importance of income, job security, and other valued job characteristics. The results, which vary little by type of impairment, indicate that the low employment rate of people with disabilities is not due to their reluctance to work or different job preferences. Conclusion Combined with evidence that a large share of new jobs can be performed by people with disabilities, the findings point toward the value of dismantling barriers to employment facing many people with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Disability
  • Employment barriers
  • Job preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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