How Irish employers could benefit from hiring people with disabilities

Opinion: employers adhering to the same old recruitment tactics are failing to capitalise on the untapped talent of people with disabilities.

The latest figures from ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey highlights that 81% of Irish employers are currently struggling to recruit employees. This survey reveals that there is currently a massive talent shortage for recruiters in Ireland with unprecedented increases in salary being offered to attract the right candidates.

But employers that continue to invest in the same old recruitment tactics fail to capitalise on the biggest source of untapped talent, that of people with disabilities. Indeed, a report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) highlights that a mere 36% of disabled people of working age are actually employed in Ireland. This figure differs considerably in the percentages in employment by disability types: people who reported having ‘deafness or a serious hearing impairment’ are on the higher end of the employment scale at 45.7%, with people with an intellectual disability at the bottom end of the employment ladder at only 14.75%.

From RTÉ Radio 1’s With Claire Byrne, Brian O’Connell reports on work experience for young people with intellectual disabilities:

Ireland has a dismal employment track record for hiring disabled people of working age, having the fourth lowest employment rates in comparison with other EU countries. These statistics are stark given that people with disabilities seek employment at more or less the same rate as the non-disabled workforce.

The current employment crisis in Ireland could act as a catalyst for change with progressive and forward-thinking employers recognising the potential in the recruitment and retention of disabled people, as a stabilising factor in the sustainability of many businesses. The lack of information on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities is surprising at a time when equality, diversity and inclusion are so high on the corporate, civil, and public service agenda. Indeed, there are many benefits to businesses of hiring people with disabilities.

Turnover and retention

Employers know that employee turnover is costly and can also negatively impact an organisation’s productivity, profitability, sustainability and competitiveness. Interestingly, studies show that people with disabilities tend to seek stable and reliable work when job seeking, and therefore are more likely to have higher rates of job retention.

From RTÉ News, employers urged to hire and retain people with disabilities

Indeed, global companies such as Microsoft, have recognised that having a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities is paramount to their mission, citing benefits such as helping to decrease current staffing gaps and powering innovation as key outcomes.

More declarations and views can be found on Rte News.