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The Facts

The Shrinking Labor Market

Since 1975, major countries around the globe have seen a dramatic rise in the average age of their population. The result of this aging is that more of the work force is retiring, and fewer people are entering the work place to take their place. In addition, the U.S. population and labor force growth have slowed dramatically since 1980.

Global employers are projected to face a shortage of 56 million by 2020. Annual expense impact is 64bps or US$310B. (Conference Board of Canada)

How Will Global Corporations Fill the Gap?

In the 1980's, children with disabilities began mainstreaming in the educational system, and the first "wave" of these college graduates began entering the workforce in larger numbers in 2000.

The intellectual capital represented in people with disabilities is a largely untapped resource.


Consider the following facts:

fact// people with disabilities represent an emerging market on par with the size of China

fact// 1.2 billion people globally - 1 in 5 individuals - report having a disability, and people with disabilities in the U.S. control aggregate annual income of > $1 trillion

fact// over 2.5 million U.S. undergrad & grad students reported disabilities in 2008, 130% more than the 1.1 million reported in 1996

fact// U.S. employers are projected to face a shortage of 20 million skilled workers by 2020. Projected annual costs in U.S. = $84 billion

fact// the employment rate for people with disabilities in the U.S. was 39.5% in 2008, roughly half of that for people without disabilities

fact// more than 20 million people with disabilities are represented in the U.S. workforce

fact// 3.6 million Canadians have a disability, according to StatsCan. (True figure is closer to 6.2 million due to the fact that most invisible disabilities are not included)

fact// people with disabilities in Canada control aggregate annual income of > $135 billion

fact// 20 million individuals with disabilities are in the Canadian workforce

fact// 90% of all disabilities on campus and 70% of disabilities in general are "invisible" - including learning disabilities, ADD, medical conditions and more. When a disability is invisible, the fear of disclosure can be great

fact// students with disabilities are intimidated by the standard corporate recruiting process, and only an estimated 30% enter the regular stream. The remainder are underemployed, or remain in academia - which is seen by many as a "safe environment"

fact// experienced candidates with disabilities can also be intimidated by the standard corporate recruitment process and as a result not seek career advancement



Facts are reflective of data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics 2003-2004 Postsecondary Student Aid Study; U.S. Census Bureau, Community Survey; U.S. Department of Labor and StatsCan. Some of these facts are intended to give approximate levels of demographic size and scope. In a business context, the use of "ballpark" numbers, based on conservative assumptions, are often used to define an unknown opportunity. While we do not intend to present these facts as academic rule, we have based all our facts on sources of universal authority such as the U.S. Census Bureau and published academia. In some instances, we then apply reasonable statistical assumptions to the data that are based in logic. In order to provoke debate, we clearly outline our methodology. We expect to be cited as a source and openly welcome any suggested refinements to our methodology at





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