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Employers for Change

Earlier this year, disability activist Sinéad Burke launched a government initiative called “Employers for Change” as part of the Open Doors initiative which advocates for equal employment opportunities. Employers for Change aims to help employers hire, manage, and retain staff with disabilities. The new initiative will focus on providing a web-based employer disability information service along with a dedicated helpline.

The NDA’s Employment fact sheet1 notes the 2016 census revealed that only 36.5% of people with disabilities aged between 20 and 64 were employed, versus 72.8% of people without a disability. Furthermore, according to Grammenos (2017) Statistics on Skills, Labour market, Benefits & Housing, for people within disabilities who are employed within Ireland, there is a wage gap of 21.3% when compared to people without disabilities. This is nearly twice as much when compared to the average wage gap across Europe which is 11%. Employers for Changes hopes to have a positive impact on improving the low employment rate of people with disabilities.

Speaking at the virtual launch, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, noted that he hopes the initiate will help businesses in Ireland to “better identify, understand and remove the barriers that exist to the recruitment and employment of people with disabilities.”

People with disabilities account for circa 15% of the world’s population, meaning there is a large labour force which is being underutilised. We have seen in recent years that some larger companies, such as Google and Microsoft, have realised that people with disabilities can be valuable assets to a business and are putting great emphasis and effort into opportunities for and retention of staff with disabilities. Providing new ideas and innovations, new ways of problem solving and a new approach on daily processes, the input and viewpoint of people with disabilities can be an invaluable resource that many companies have yet to realise.

For more information on Employers for Change, click here.

For more information on the employment statistics referenced in this article, refer the the NDA factsheet on Employment from May 2019.

Alternatively, if you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected].