It’s Ability That Matters – Let’s Rethink Disability
Leaving education and entering the job market is a tough challenge in today’s climate. Imagine doing that as a young person with a so-called disability. While there is legislation focused on employment equity in most developed countries, workers with a disability continue to be unfairly treated.
Challenges in the Workplace
People with a disability face the challenge of being viewed as less capable than “non-disabled” people, they could be passed over for promotion and may even be passed over entirely at the start of the hiring process. People with a disability are often considered as less competent and it is wrongly believed that they cost more to employ. While certain adjustments should be made to accommodate them, these accommodations are negligible – and the benefits of hiring a person with a disability far outweigh the real or perceived drawbacks.
Diversity Brings New Perspectives
Hiring people with a disability has a range of benefits, not only for the person who is hired, but also for the company employing the person and for other employees. A case study by the Australian Department of Education revealed that employees with a disability are generally hard workers and are loyal. Because of their disability these people are more likely to develop above average problem-solving skills, resilience, empathy and creativity. A diverse workforce also brings new perspectives into the workplace. What’s more, making accommodations generally benefits the entire workforce while boosting morale and productivity. The true meaning of a diverse workplace is using people’s skill sets and not focusing on what they can’t do.