Robert Hensel is famously remembered for the famous quote, “there is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.” Fact: 13 percent of the Irish population is disabled, yet only 30 percent of people of working age among the disabled form part of the Irish workforce.
The National Disability Authority in its 2015 report asserted that people with disabilities had lower earnings per hour when compared to their non-disabled counterparts and still most of the disabled cannot secure jobs, leave alone the harassment they experience in the hands of non-disabled peers. Businesses in Ireland rarely employ people with disabilities, citing unreliability and financial incentives that neither satisfies the needs of the employer nor employees. Thus, it’s time for the disabled to explore entrepreneurship opportunities and employ workers with disabilities.
Addressing Employment Imbalances
There are multiple approaches to reducing employment inequalities regarding people with disabilities. According to the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities, entrepreneurship is one of the strategies that can make the Irish workforce become inclusive of people with mental and physical disabilities. Imagine a situation where every city has more than 100 disability entrepreneurs employing other disabled individuals. A larger portion of this population will have work and contribute positively to the economic growth. The Irish government and society, in general, should help persons with disabilities engage in business ventures. The main challenge a person with disability endures when starting a business is lack of capital.
With most persons with disability facing challenges in getting employment in Ireland, it’s time to explore a different strategy: starting businesses and including fellow disabled individuals in their workforces. Employers and workers with disabilities should use assistive technology, access microfinance loans and undergo disability awareness training to succeed in their endeavors. The society and government should be at the forefront of supporting people with disabilities to bring a truly inclusive workforce.