Disability: It's your business
Is disability a business issue? The answer is ‘yes’. Potential employees and customers with disability represent a substantial opportunity to business. In Australia’s competitive marketplace and skills-constrained economy, you simply can’t afford to ignore this market segment. A recent report from the Business Council of Australia found that in order to remain competitive, business needs to reconsider methods of attracting and retaining employees. Attracting, recruiting and retaining employees with disability can provide a significant and often overlooked opportunity for business, and a solution to Australia’s skills crisis.
Disability is almost certainly more common than you think and is not always immediately obvious. The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines a person as having disability if they have one or more impairments that impact on their daily life and lasts for six months or longer. The key aspect is not the impairment, but its effect. For some people it can be anything from migraines to arthritis, from dyslexia to back pain. Chances are you already have people with disability in your workforce and as your customers, shareholders and suppliers.
According to ABS figures, 20 per cent of the Australian population, almost four million people, have a disability. Australia’s most successful companies are already welcoming skilled and talented people with disability and reaping the benefits. They are tapping into a motivated talent pool, gearing their businesses towards welcoming a diverse customer base, and appealing to investors with Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability interests. These companies already understand the business case for including people with disability and as a result they continue to flourish.
“At Westpac, we value every customer and employee as an individual. We want to delight all our customers and to do this we need the most talented and engaged people working for us, including people with disability. Being a leader in accessibility assists us to reach our customers and attract employees who can truly delight them”.
- Gail Kelly, CEO, Westpac.
“In 2008 the gross disposable income of people with disability in Australia is estimated at A$54.5 billion”.
- Suzanne Colbert, CEO, Australian Network on Disability.