The bottom line: The Valuable 500’s invisible disability global trend report

Thu 19 August 2021

In July, The Valuable 500 released their report, A look at invisible disabilities in society. The report examines the global trends around business and disability, disability representation in fashion and culture, and brand experience and innovation over the past year.

Fast facts:

  • Women and people with disability have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
  • Long term health conditions are growing around younger generations – with 35-39% of Australians between the ages of 15-24 having one or more chronic conditions in 2017/18, with an expected rise due to the pandemic.
  • Younger demographics expect diversity in organisations to align with their own values, however it must be authentic.

What are the global trends in for diversity and inclusion in business? A snapshot.

The Valuable 500 has found that businesses are continuing to priortise diversity and inclusion throughout the world. This is particularly notable in the U.S, where consultancies are building up their expertise.

Closer to home, the Singaporean government has introduced policies to support workplace employment for people with disability.  The Valuable 500 notes that globally, governments have implemented support schemes and initiatives for the employment of people with disability.

Businesses have also shown their support globally for people with disability through donations to charity – but there are opportunities for business to innovate and release accessible products and services in-market.

Within the Australian context, Australians are primarily concerned about finances and health.

Mental health, the workforce and consumer behaviour

The Valuable 500 has identified two considerations that continue to drive consumer behaviour in the face of the pandemic:

  • their wellbeing
  • local and global environments.

A new understanding of wellbeing is currently being established through the pandemic, which encompasses physical and mental health, as well as relaxation and financial wellbeing.  This new understanding of wellbeing also encompasses an expectation of a healthy and flexible work/life balance – which The Valuable 500 predicts will increase as Gen Z enters the workforce.

Similarly, The Valuable 500 reports that consumers have seen the power of local community throughout the pandemic, and the power of positive change when communities come together for a cause – giving consumers hope to tackle the climate crisis.

This all leads to an expectation by consumers that organisations go beyond tokenistic approaches, and strive for a ‘safer, more inclusive and accessible world.’

Areas of opportunity:

The pandemic has been a sense of disruption of what we once knew as normal but also presents an opportunity for us to change the way we operate, to make sure we can move forward into a more equitable world. Some of the ways The Valuable 500 suggest we make the most of this disruption is by:

  • Support innovation and innovation funding for consumers with disability.
  • Practice wellbeing and wellness for both your employees, but also encourage your consumer base to practice wellness - and be mindful of what accessible wellness activities look like.
  • Support people with disability who have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic through accessible training, and removing barriers in the workplace.

To see how you can bring these recommendations to life, or to see what other ways you can create an equitable environment for your employees with disability, contact your Relationship Manager.

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