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  • Writer's pictureSocial Scaffolding

Equalising employment makes good business

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

In an increasingly complex and competitive world it is essential that businesses look to build a more equitable and inclusive workforce, that will strengthen them as we progress through and beyond Covid-19. Research has shown that organisations which build a strong and sustainable diverse workforce outperform less diverse peers on profitability.

Organizations that are most focused on disability engagement are growing sales 2.9 times faster and profits 4.1 times faster than their peers [1]

Businesses have told us that people with disability bring high potential and a diverse range of skills and abilities to the workforce, and are capable of working in a wide range of occupations and industries – from professional roles through to manual labour roles. Furthermore, that employees with disability:

  • have very positive attitudes and motivation towards work.

  • offer equal or greater levels of performance and productivity than other workers.

  • have fewer absences and increased tenure.

  • are no more likely to be injured at work than other employees – in fact have lower rates of workplace injury incidents.

  • offer high levels of innovative thinking and creativity in solving problems.

  • do not cost employers any more than employing people without disability.

Whilst many employers appear to acknowledge the benefits of hiring people with disability there still seems to be a disparity in the level of employment of people within the disability sector – with employment rates still as low as 53%.

To change this story and increase sustainable employment opportunities for people with disability, Social Scaffolding, together with our Inclusive Employment Movement partners – Troocoo, the Endeavour Foundation and Leap in! – held two breakfast seminar sessions on 10 and 11 February for employers about increasing employment opportunities for people with disability.

Ange Boyd, spoke about the friction that exists in organisations. Between creating a diverse and inclusive workforce and the unconscious or conscious perceptions about the potentiality of people with disability in the workforce, as well as the beliefs that a person’s disability could place restrictions on the delivery of the role and the organisation (before they even meet the person).

These conscious or unconscious perceptions often become the anchoring point in the decision making around hiring a person with disability, resulting in fewer people with disability being employed in the labour market.

What people with disability tell us is that they want employer’s to see what is behind the visible or invisible parts of a person to the skills, attributes, talents and experiences they would bring to the role and the organisation. For there to be a conscious shift of the anchor point so that it is focused on the things that the person with disability can do – their skills, attributes, capabilities – and the high value that they would bring to the organisation.

So what should employer’s do?

Start! Harness the array of talents and opportunities that people with disability can and do bring into their jobs and careers. If the last 12 months has taught us anything it has been about being flexible and innovative in our thinking to get the job done. Consider the diverse range of skilled and talented people we have in our community and take advantage of the untapped workforce potential that people with disability bring to meet the needs of business.

If you would like more information about getting started or furthering your organisations steps in creating and sustaining a diverse workforce, by employing people with disability Social Scaffolding would love to talk with you.

L-R: Scott Horton, Declan Hart, Ange Boyd, Alex Baker, Andrew, Andrew Kiel and Steve Waters at the recent Inclusive Employment Movement breakfast.

[1]Accenture: Enabling Change, Getting to Equal 2020: Disability Inclusion


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