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Examining Macro and Meso Level Barriers to Hiring Persons with Disabilities: A Scoping Review

Environmental Contexts and Disability

ISBN: 978-1-78441-263-0, eISBN: 978-1-78441-262-3

Publication date: 4 November 2014



The objective of this paper was to identify and analyze barriers to hiring persons with disabilities from the perspective of employers and persons with disabilities.


A scoping review was used to evaluate both evidence and grey literature. An integrative analysis was employed to explicate the most salient macro and meso level barriers that limit the hiring of persons with disabilities.


A total of 38 articles from 6,480 evidence literature and 19 documents from grey literature were included in data extraction. Barriers included: negative attitudes in society, by employers and coworkers (macro and meso); workplace barriers (meso) were about lack of employer knowledge of performance skill and capacity of persons with disabilities, and the lack of awareness of disability and the management of disability-related issues in hiring and retention; and service delivery system barriers (macro) were focused on the lack of integration of services and policies to promote hiring and retention.

Social implications

Knowledge gained furthers the understanding of the breadth of social, workplace and service delivery system obstacles that restrict the entry into the labor marker for persons with disabilities.


Barriers to employment for persons with disabilities at the macro and meso level are evident in the literature and they remain persistent over time despite best efforts to promote inclusion. Findings in this review point to the need for more specific critical research on the persistence of social, workplace and service delivery system barriers as well as the need for pragmatic approaches to change through partnering and development of targeted information to support employers in hiring and employing persons with disabilities.




We would like to acknowledge the support of Human Resources and Social Development Canada to conduct this review


Shaw, L., Daraz, L., Bezzina, M.B., Patel, A. and Gorfine, G. (2014), "Examining Macro and Meso Level Barriers to Hiring Persons with Disabilities: A Scoping Review", Environmental Contexts and Disability (Research in Social Science and Disability, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 185-210.



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