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Barriers to employment are a significant issue in the United States and abroad. As civil rights legislation continues to be enforced and as employers seek to diversify…
Barriers to employment are a significant issue in the United States and abroad. As civil rights legislation continues to be enforced and as employers seek to diversify their workplaces, it is incumbent upon the management field to offer insights that address obstacles to work. Although barriers to employment have been addressed in various fields such as psychology and economics, management scholars have addressed this issue in a piecemeal fashion. As such, our review will offer a comprehensive, integrative model of barriers to employment that addresses both individual and organizational perspectives. We will also address societal-level concerns involving these barriers. An integrative perspective is necessary for research to progress in this area because many individuals with barriers to employment face multiple challenges that prevent them from obtaining and maintaining full employment. While the additive, or possibly multiplicative, effect of employment barriers have been acknowledged in related fields like rehabilitation counseling and vocational psychology, the Human Resource Management (HRM) literature has virtually ignored this issue. We discuss suggestions for the reduction or elimination of barriers to employment. We also provide an integrative model of employment barriers that addresses the mutable (amenable to change) nature of some barriers, while acknowledging the less mutable nature of others.