International Labour Organisation event makes case for hiring people with disability

Wed 17 October 2012

A special session held at the International Labour Conference to bring awareness to ILO’s Global Business and Disability Network made the business case for hiring people with disabilities.

Businesses and employer groups asserted at the recent Geneva event that hiring a qualified person with a disability can contribute to a company’s overall competitiveness through benefits such as increased productivity, greater market share and lower job turnover rates.

Many employers shared their good practices on implementing inclusion strategies. Novartis executive Valerie Guertler-Doyle said the resources made available were “a goldmine of ideas” in helping her develop a corporate disability diversity strategy.

Carrefour executive Jean-Christophe Deslarzes endorsed the Network’s aims: “Developing an inclusive workforce will create shareholder value since, at the end of the day, the revenue drive comes from the employees who work for us.”

The Network includes some 43 multinational companies and 17 employers’ organizations globally, as well as disabled persons groups such as the International Disability Alliance. It aims to: help its members share knowledge and identify good practices; develop products and services that facilitate hiring and retention of disabled people; strengthen technical expertise on disability issues; and link members to ILO activities and partners at the national level and through their local offices and supply chains.

Stefan Tromel of the International Disability Alliance noted the important role that companies play in sharing the business case, particularly now that 112 countries have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Disabled people constitute the world’s largest minority group, representing 15 per cent of the population, or an estimated one billion people. At least 785 million of them are of working age.

The event also marked major milestones in the development of the Network: a formal membership agreement, a strategic plan, and an active Steering Committee whose members includes Accor Hotels, Adecco, Carrefour, Casino Group, Dow Chemical, Infosys, MphasiS, Novartis and Standard Bank, US Council for International Business and the International Disability Alliance.

The session was attended by more than 100 people, including employers’ representatives, business leaders and ILO staff. As well as raising awareness on companies that have successfully integrated disabled workers into their workplaces and business activities, the session provided an opportunity for several employers’ organizations and at least one major conglomerate plans to join the Network.

 For more information on the ILC special session to bring awareness to ILO’s Global Business and Disability Network click here:

For more information on ILO’s Global Business and Disability Network, click here:

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