Stuttering and Labour Market

By Hermann Christmann


The study was carried out at The Stuttering Information Center of Denmark. The purpose of the project was to investigate employers' attitudes towards people who stutter (PWS), and to investigate experiences made by PWS with respect to the labor market. The information was gathered in order to convey this information to relevant parties thus, hopefully, making job opportunities for stutterers better. Entailing the study we were running an information campaign country wide telling employers, vocational counselers etc. about the results of the enquiry.


Questionaires were returned from 721 out of 1408 (51.2 percent - very small firms were not prone to answering the questionnaire) employers and 85 PWS. Further selected for an interview were 16 employers, 4 of whom stuttered, and 11 PWS. 11 percent of the employers reported having one or more PWS as employees, these employers were more positive toward employing a PWS in the "communicative" jobs than were those employers who had no experience with PWS as employees.Today I will share with you our results regarding some of the differences between the answers from those employers, who did not employ any stutterers from those employers who did employ one or more stutters in their company.Can stutterers fulfil the same demands as non stutterers? Or, in other words, are stutterers as capable as other people?76 percent of those who did not employ stuterers, answered yes, whereas 84 percent of those, who employed stutterers answered yes. The "non-employers" were most undecided on the issue, 13 vs 5 percent.Would stuttering reduce job opportunities in your company?Yes said 25 percent of those who did not employ stutterers, vs 15 percent of those who employed stutterers. No said 55 percent not employing vs 66 percent of those employing stutterers. Sligthly less than 20 percent in both groups were undecided on the issue. Can a stutterer hold a job representing the company?

Yes answered 47 percent of those not employing a stutterer vs. 65 percent of those emploing stutterers.
About the same fraction in both groups, one fourth, answered no in both groups.
The non-employer group had a high part, 28 percent, undecided vs. only 12 percent among the employers. - This is a general tendency, the more you know about stuttering, the more prone you are to have an opnion.

Some of the no-answers were accompanied by quotings of assumed non-suited jobs: Salesmens' jobs, jobs with contact to customers, maintenance work (at the customers' sites), teaching, giving speeches, general management.

Are there any job tasks that a stutterer should not work with?

Yes, answered 43 percent of those who did not employ a stutterer vs. 35 percent of those, who emplyed a stutterer.
No, 47 percent not employing a stutterer vs. 57 percent employing stutteres.
One tenth were undecided in both groups.

If we now have a look at one of the answers from the stutterers in our investigation we observe, that the major part, 77 percent, of them worked in jobs, where quite some communication were required.

Only 23 percent held blue-collar work where you are supposed not to speak very much.

ConclusionThe majority of the stutterers worked in jobs, that in the opinion of a substantial number of the employers, were not suited for stutterers. The employers, who employed stutterers in their company, were generally more positive about employing stutterers than were those who did not employ any stutterers.

Knowledge about stuttering reduces discrimination against stutterers in the work place.

The International Stuttering Association
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