Hiring eager staff as we reach full employment

Hiring eager staff as we reach full employment

By Seònaid Ó Murchadha
Monday, 3rd September 2018

“Diversity fosters creativity. We need to generate the best ideas from our people in all levels of the company and incorporate them into our business practices.”

Frédéric Rozé, President and Chief Executive Officer, L’Oréal USA

The Central Statistics Office’s latest Labour Force survey Q2 2018 shows the economy is reaching full employment and companies report finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain talent. However, people with disabilities who are keen and able to work represent an invisible cohort of jobseekers that are not included in live register figures. Findings from the ESRI show that half of all disabled people want to work but they are four times less likely to have a job than their non-disabled peers and more likely to leave the workforce early.

Today’s workplaces are more diverse than ever. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 7 of us worldwide experience some kind of disability. Census 2016 shows 643,131 people living with a disability in Ireland or 13.5% of the population. Interestingly, that is an 8% increase from the last census figure in 2011. The majority of those people will have acquired their disability at some stage during their working lives, about 85% will have an accident or illness that significantly changes their life. In other words, we will be managing a disability-related issue at some stage regardless of whether we feel ready for the challenge of accommodating diversity and disability in the workplace.

Many employers feel that they’re taking a great risk if something happens that they are unsure how to manage when employing someone with a disability so often won’t take that chance. However, there are many grants, schemes, support and information out there for employers to avail of to assist them to recruit, employ or retain someone with a disability.

The Employer Disability Information (EDI) service is one such support. Set up two years ago, EDI is a free advice and information service for employers - the go-to place for employers who need information or support on the recruitment, management and retention of employees with disabilities. With the backing of a consortium of employer bodies - Chambers Ireland, Ibec and ISME – and funding from the National Disability Authority, the EDI team promote and drive inclusive employment initiatives through a dedicated helpline, email and by providing a wealth of information and guidance supports for employers on the website.

Part of our work looks at employer attitudes to the employment of people with disabilities and in 2016, we rolled out a survey to all Irish employers to get a better understanding of where the difficulties lay for companies. The findings show that the majority of Irish employers are open to employing people with disabilities but state that they don’t know how to go about it and most are unaware of the different supports available to them.

We are now conducting a follow up survey with a view to measuring the impact of the EDI project over the last two years. We’d greatly appreciate your input! Please take two minutes to complete this survey by clicking here - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5FX9ZC8.     

For any specific queries or advice about disability in the workplace and inclusive employment, please contact us on info@employerdisabilityinfo.ie, visit www.employerdisabilityinfo.ie or call us on 01 6762014 or 086 17 00 472.