The Japanese Government recently implemented regulations whereby employers with fifty or more staff must have those with disabilities represent at least 2% of the total.
“It’s positive to see from our survey that 67%, or two thirds, of businesses already employ those with disabilities and are working towards a fully diverse workforce and staffing strategy,” says Christine Wright, Hays Operations Director, Asia.
79% of the businesses surveyed by Hays came under the criteria for the Government regulation, while 11 % said they are yet to increase the recruitment of candidates with disabilities. This confirms that the majority of businesses are aware of the new regulation and have been implementing the appropriate changes.
“Recognising and valuing the varied skills, knowledge, backgrounds and perspectives that people bring to their work is really what workplace diversity is about,” says Christine. “Rather than merely accepting people from different target groups, diversity means managing and integrating their varied lifestyles, beliefs and needs to your business.”
The survey also showed that 79% of businesses employed up to thirty staff with disabilities, with 70% of these candidates in administrative roles. Meanwhile, 23% of employers said employees with disabilities hold positions such as Drivers, Janitors, inventory/storage, Developers, Engineers, Planners and Sales staff.
“This is often an overlooked candidate pool, which has great potential to fill important roles within businesses. Having people with a disability in the recruitment pool offers more choice, making it easier to get the right person for the job,” says Christine.
“Employers that limit diversity parameters effectively limit their ability to fill roles, in a skills-short market. And a fully diverse workforce sends a strong message to employees and candidates that the organisation is accepting of all, and therefore an employer of choice.”
In some cases, hiring candidates with disabilities requires changes within businesses. For example, only 30% of the employers surveyed said they could provide wheelchair accessibility.
Hays has this advice for recruiting and working with candidates with disabilities:
- Employers need to look at how a candidate can contribute to their business and what skills they possess, rather than the challenges they might face.
- Interviewing job candidates under any circumstances requires skill and understanding. So, in interviewing candidates with disabilities, some training in disability awareness may be helpful and could reduce the risk of discriminatory attitudes affecting decisions in job interviews.
- It is important to ensure that standard induction procedures are accessible to a person with a disability. Managers, supervisors and work colleagues need to be suitably briefed so that they understand the nature of the adjustments needed. However, they do not always need to know the details of the disability.
- As with any new employee, it can be helpful to assign another member of staff to support them, at least in the early days
- Do not make assumptions about a person's ability to participate in training, staff activities or team meetings. Always check with the person and discuss if they need adjustments to participate.
Hays surveyed more than two hundred hiring managers to find out how the market was reacting to the workplace changes.
This survey on Disability in the Workplace is the second conducted by Hays in its Diversity in the Workplace Thought Leadership Series – the first survey focused on Women in the Workplace. Please click here to see those results.
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