The Early Employment Inequalities of Disabled Postsecondary Graduates in Canada

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: Booth 42
Oral Presentation
David ZARIFA , Sociology, Nipissing University, North Bay, ON, Canada
David WALTERS , Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
Brad SEWARD , Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
Disabled youth have become an increasingly important at risk group for educators and policymakers in Canada. Youth with disabilities are more likely to drop out of high school and are significantly less likely to pursue higher education. Yet, many universities are now reporting that nearly 10 percent of their graduating students self-identify as having a disability, and educational achievement-based programs designed to accommodate students’ needs are growing across campuses. While accessibility within postsecondary education may be improving, existing studies suggest that youth with disabilities still face inaccessible workplaces and hiring discrimination.  In fact, perceptions of disability by employers and colleagues have been shown to have stronger effects on workforce outcomes than lack of accommodations in the workplace.  Drawing on Statistics Canada’s 2005 National Graduates Survey, we explore three major research questions.  First, despite increased access to disabled youth at the postsecondary level, how do disabled individuals with postsecondary credentials fair in the labour market relative to their non-disabled counterparts?  Second, what types of credentials appear to moderate the effects of disability on workforce outcomes?  That is, how do the transition outcomes of disadvantaged groups compare across fields, faculties, and types of programs?  Do these relationships vary across levels of education (college, trades, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees)?  Finally, do disabled graduates experience similar inequalities across economic and non-economic transition outcomes (earnings, education-job match, job satisfaction, employment, full-time employment)?