According to disability employment experts, atWork Australia, Australia’s 4.37 million people living with disability continue to face huge challenges with employment.
And those ‘challenges’ are depriving businesses of a diverse talent pool.
As reported in Accom News on December 15, this is particularly the case in the hospitality sector where job vacancies are set to top 100,000 and employers not looking to people with disabilities as one of the most obvious sources of highly capable talents are missing out.
atWork Australia’s General Manager Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement, Debbie Brooks said hiring a person living with disability shouldn’t be seen as an issue to be overcome, but an opportunity to build stronger teams.
“Hiring a diverse workforce facilitates different methods of communication, collaboration and leadership to balance out working styles and create a fluid and dynamic culture, she said.
Businesses can play an important role in creating an equal and inclusive workplace and reap significant benefits from hiring people living with a disability.
Bringing together different minds, backgrounds, experiences, genders, and ages brings together different thought processes to solve more complex problems.
While diverse workplaces benefit minority groups, businesses also stand to gain with a 2018 study showing that companies which prioritise inclusion achieve on average 28 percent higher revenue, 30 percent higher profit margins and double the net income.
Additionally, on average, they see staff retention go up by 90 percent which allows them to focus on their business and not ‘revolving door’ recruitment.
Debbie has addressed misconceptions about inclusive recruitment and discusses why it’s good for business:
Don’t assume that a person living with disability can’t complete the same tasks as their peers
As a person living with disability, the worst thing you can do is assume that someone isn’t capable of certain things due to their disability. You will be amazed how people can adapt and find new ways to do things.
My advice to employers would be that if they can create a workplace where the person living with disability feels comfortable to ask for help and can have access to the right technology that can best support them, it will allow the person to complete their role to the best of their ability.
It doesn’t cost more to hire someone living with a disability
It is often assumed that employing people living with disability carries additional costs. However, employers should be aware that this isn’t the case. It is clear from research that employing people living with disability costs exactly the same as employing those without.
Employers may be eligible for funding through the Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) which has been implemented to cover the costs of meeting accessibility requirements for eligible persons. This can include buying equipment and accessing services for people living with disability.
Diversity creates engagement
Inclusive workplaces are likely to be more engaged, motivated and productive, and employees will stay with a diverse business for longer.
Opening up recruitment strategies to facilitate the employment of people with disability also opens the door to other diverse groups, helping businesses meet HR targets and benefit from accessing the full talent pool.
An inclusive workforce enables better connections with your customers
The Australian Network on Disability says that a workforce that reflects the diversity of the wider community is also likely to lead to greater customer loyalty and satisfaction across industries. A workforce that reflects your customer base, creates a better connection.
Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience.
Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.