Diversity in Action: Employing more people with disability

One of our Senior CSR Advisers Elaine Stephen recently attended the WorkABLE Future 2018 conference in Croke Park which was supported by Irish Wheelchair Association, Employer Disability Information and Hays.

Here Elaine summarises some key points from the event.

Why should employing people with disability be a business priority?

  • There is a huge untapped source of talent available
  • While employment rates have risen in Ireland in the period 2013 to 2016, the increase in employment for people with disability was less than half per cent.
  • 71% of people with a disability are unemployed
  • 11,000 are in third-level education.This is a huge talent opportunity.

What are the practical steps a business can take?

1- Examine the recruitment process to see if there are unnecessary barriers for someone with a disability.

2- Make sure application forms are available in Plain English and accessible formats and ensure that potential candidates are aware of this. This will also send a strong signal that you are an employer that welcomes people with disability.

3- There is often an element of fear in supervisors and line managers who are concerned they may do something wrong in managing a person with a disability. Provide training for managers as part of management development. This is important as a large proportion of disabilities are acquired by employees during their working life i.e. after they have been through recruitment.

Support for businesses 

There are several organisations who can provide support to make work placements a success for the employer and the employee with a disability. Visit Employer Disability Information employerdisabilityinfo.ie but also:

1- NALA the National Adult Literacy Agency  support organisations to ensure materials are in Plain English

2- There are 23 Employ Ability services around Ireland  who can advise on the wage subsidy scheme and provide a job coach for up to eighteen months at no cost to the employer

3- WAM (Willing Able Mentoring) aim to connect graduates with disabilities with the labour market and help employers improve their ability to integrate disability into the workplace .


Business in the Community Ireland members have supported WAM for many years e.g. Abbot, Deloitte, ESB, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Bank of Ireland, IBM and Microsoft.

If you would like to know more about this topic please talk to your account manager.

Visit our sustainability areas of expertise to see how we help businesses on diversity & inclusion in the workplace.

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