AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


Employer Attitudes Survey 2021

AHEAD commissioned data from a nationally representative sample of more than 250 private sector companies with more than 20 employees from Behaviours & Attitudes. The study examines company diversity and inclusion policies; the value of diversity within the workforce; recruitment; reasonable accommodation; and disability in the workforce.

The findings were launched at a webinar entitled, ‘The Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities’, organised as part of AHEAD’s WAM (Willing Able Mentoring) programme. Set up by AHEAD in 2005 and currently funded by the Department of Social Protection, WAM promotes access to the labour market for graduates with disabilities, and helps build the capacity of employers to integrate disability into the workplace.

Speaking at the launch of the findings, Chief Executive Officer of AHEAD, Dara Ryder said: “This research is long overdue. The last survey of this scale and sort undertaken by AHEAD was in 2008. Since then, the wider public conversation around disability, inclusion and participation has evolved, so it was crucial for AHEAD to see if employers’ efforts have kept pace with this change."

Download Full Findings - PDF

We have highlighted some of the key findings in our infographic video below.


  Text Only Infographic Stats - Accessible Version

Employer Attitudes to Disability in the Workplace in Ireland 2021 – commissioned by AHEAD.

  • First word to mind for 44% when hearing the word disability thought of a physical disability.
  • 76% had a diversity and inclusion strategy.
  • Only 37% had targeted recruitment aimed at people with disabilities.
  • 75% consider hiring people with disabilities important to supporting business innovation.
  • Disclosure Disconnect – 83% believe disclosure should be provided prior to the job offer. Almost half believe it’s a breach of trust if applicant does not disclose their disability. Just over half proactively offer opportunities for disclosure during recruitment.
  • 83% believe that hiring people with disabilities is of benefit to their organisation.
  • 78% said that they understand reasonable accommodations.
  • 1/4 were aware of the Reasonable Accommodation fund from the Department of Social Protection.
  • Action over aspiration - If you’re an employer who would like advice or to learn how AHEAD can support you in targeted recruitment of people with disabilities, or if you’re a graduate with a disability seeking employment, reach us at ahead@ahead.ie or +353 1 592 3667.
  • Data collected from a nationally representative sample of 250 private sector companies with more than 20 employees across Ireland in 2021 in a survey commissioned by AHEAD from Behaviours & Attitudes.

Download Infographic PDF

Download Full Findings - PowerPoint


WAM - Funded by DSP

The WAM programme @ AHEAD is kindly supported by the Department of Social Protection

Department of Social Protection

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

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