Statistics from the Government of British Columbia show there will be almost one million job openings in B.C. over the next decade. With an already low unemployment rate across the Province, employers face an increasingly tricky task in filling these vacancies.
Meanwhile, there are 334,000 British Columbians aged 15-64 that have a disability. These individuals represent an important talent pool that is largely untapped. The Presidents Group – a network of change-driven BC business leaders – are aiming to address both issues by improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities and creating a more accessible consumer marketplace.
“The Presidents Group as a group of business leaders is really committed to results and action,” explained Tamara Vrooman, President & CEO, Vancity Credit Union and Presidents Group Co-Chair.
“I think our collective commitment is to really move the needle on the number of people that are employed in our province who identify as having diverse abilities.”
Why this Work is Important
Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 4.5 percentage points higher, 11.6% vs 7.1% when compared to people without disabilities, despite comparable education and skillsets. The Presidents Group recognizes that un-/under-employment can lead to many other challenges such as poverty, social exclusion, and poor health outcomes due to lack of food and shelter security. Improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities is critical to the health of our province, a revelation that led to the creation of the Accessible Employers website.
The Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities
People with disabilities represent a massive talent pool in British Columbia. Accessing these candidates delivers a wide range of advantages for your small business. Here are five of the biggest benefits you’ll enjoy:
Improved Bottom Line
A recent study from Deloitte found that diverse and inclusive workplaces are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, six times more likely to be innovative, and six times more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively.
Expanded Consumer Market
It’s been proven time and again that people want to interact with companies that reflect themselves. People with disabilities represent $55 billion per year in spending power in Canada. And, for companies looking to gain a competitive advantage, 90% of consumers prefer businesses that employ people with disabilities.
In organizations with accessible employment practices, staff retention was 72% higher among people with disabilities. It can also have a positive effect on staff morale, according to Mark Brand, Owner of Save On Meats:
“Once you bring someone [with diverse-abilities] through, you’ll see the morale of the rest of your staff change in such a positive way.
“We’re at a very key time right now where empathy is everything, and if you’re not showing it and leading with it, you’re going to have a lot of trouble retaining your people going forward. So, reach out to an agency, bring somebody in, see that it’s not only not difficult, it’s incredibly rewarding.”
In terms of job performance and attendance, employees with disabilities excel. 90% of people with disabilities did as well or better in their jobs than coworkers without. 86% of employees with disabilities rated average or better in terms of attendance.
Among its employees with disabilities, Walgreens cited a 40% lower safety incident rate, 63% lower employee time away from work due to accidents, and 78% lower overall costs associated with accidents.
Become an Accessible Employer
Interested in finding out more about becoming an accessible employer? The Presidents Group has compiled a comprehensive list of resources to help you make your workplace a more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.