People with disabilities have traditionally been excluded or underutilized in the workforce. Stigmas and a general lack of understanding surrounding the capabilities and skills they can provide businesses, has led to an employment rate of just 48%. When compared to those without disabilities having an employment rate of 79% it’s a big gap.
Perceptions of ‘what work should look like’ have changed dramatically because of COVID-19, so it is a perfect time to look at other ways we can change the workplace. Improving the poor employment statistics of people with disability is and should be not just a moral imperative, but an economic one too. Businesses are missing out on qualified and talented people ready to work who will add value to their organisation and culture.
The benefits of employing people with disabilities
There are biases and assumptions that employing people with disabilities leads to less productivity, but a raft of studies suggest that this is not the case[i]. In fact, in addition to people with disability performing the same as people without disabilities, they took far fewer days absent compared to those without disabilities[ii].
It costs a lot to hire someone. The average cost per hire in Australia is around five thousand dollars! So, it makes sense to keep your employees engaged and sticking around. People with disability tend to repay the respect they have been shown by serving lengthier tenures, so businesses can retain that valuable experience and expertise for longer.
A change in perceptions
An inclusive workplace also brings with it a range of benefits for businesses. Lower turnover, higher productivity, and higher employee engagement and morale, all see significant increases in more inclusive organisations.
What is less measurable, but is far more important for a business, is the difference in opinions and perspectives that come from different backgrounds. This can lead to marked improvement in creativity, innovation and problem-solving within teams.
What does hiring people with disability cost you
Another roadblock for those with disability into employment is the perceived costs to accommodate their conditions. While a terribly reductive way to view a human being, it is in fact untrue. Nearly 60% of accommodations cost nothing. Typical costs for workplaces where they were needed were only around five hundred dollars.
Given the benefits highlighted above this seems like a small investment in a more balanced and inclusive workplace. Not to mention that consumers look more favourably on businesses that employ people with disabilities. With 1.3 billion differently-abled people globally that are supported by 2.2 billion friends and family, or eight trillion in disposable income, it’s a large market to ignore.
If you are looking for information on making your business more inclusive get in touch with our team here: https://www.maxsolutions.com.au/benefits-of-diversity