Expanding client bases through inclusivity

News story
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is at 11.1 percent and this rises to 20 percent for people with intellectual disabilities.
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Dr Byrne in front of Equal sign

To a significant extent, this is due to disability discrimination.
Impairment (the term currently used for disability in the Equal Opportunity Act 1984) discrimination in employment is consistently one of the most nominated grounds and areas for complaints at the Commission.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Western Australia (CCIWA) has recently released its report Tapping the talent pool of people with disabilities which the Commission welcomes.
In this report it states that ‘one of the most pervasive and detrimental barriers to employment for people with disabilities in WA is discrimination, both during the recruitment process and within the workplace itself.’
However, the CCIWA report also gives a business case for disability inclusion to its members, which the Commission supports, and has frequently put forward in this column.
It states companies with above-average diversity reported 45 percent of their company’s total revenue stemmed from innovation revenue, compared to just 26 percent for companies with below-average diversity scores.
This demonstrates the most innovative companies are also the most inclusive.
It also states companies with above-average diversity scores have increased customer loyalty and are better equipped to understand and meet the unique needs of a wider customer base.
Hopefully these statistics will persuade CCIWA members to consider the rights of people with disabilities and rethink old stereotypes that contribute to discrimination in workplaces and recruitment processes.
The Commission’s Strategy and Engagement Team are currently working with the Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industry to roll out a training package for its members.
It will include a multifaceted approach with rights-based training for employees and training for small business owners, as well as employers at larger organisations, to better understand their responsibilities under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984.
It will also include information about measures intended to achieve equality which allows businesses to lawfully target specific cohorts to achieve diversity in the workplace.
It is encouraging to see the Chambers of Commerce and Industry working towards diversity inclusion with its members, not just in disability but in other areas of diversity as well.
Diversity inclusion benefits everyone from employees to employers to customers. Businesses just need to realise the benefits and make the change.