Businesses play biggest role in hiring people with disabilities, says Lawrence Wong


SINGAPORE – Businesses play the most important role in ensuring more people with disabilities are employed, while the government will continue to play a key role in offering support, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said Thursday August 25.

To see lasting improvement in the employment of these people, companies must see it in their best interest to hire them – not just for charity or social good, but also because companies truly believe in the benefits of inclusive hiring, did he declare.

The civil service, one of Singapore’s largest employers, has also been inclusive in its recruitment, he added.

Wong cited the example of Vital, an agency of the Department of Finance that provides common business services for the entire civil service.

To help digitize paper documents, Vital worked with SG Enable – the focal agency for disability and inclusion here – to hire people with autism because they realized certain aspects of the job played to their strengths, said Mr. Wong, who is also Minister of Finance. .

Vital then continued to find positions suitable for people with disabilities. It currently employs them in a variety of roles, including in its payroll and claims division.

Speaking at the Inclusive Business Forum held at the Mediacorp theater in one-north, Mr Wong encouraged more companies to be more inclusive in their recruitment.

The biennial forum, hosted by SG Enable, focused on how disability inclusion can drive business resilience and sustainable growth in the future of work.

The employment rate for people with disabilities has increased from around 28% in 2019 to around 30% today.

He said: “We can and must do better. Because as we look to the future, what is clear is that Singapore’s continued success will not only depend on the economic growth we can generate , but also about how we can become inclusive as a society.We need to do more to ensure that everyone can participate fully in the progress of our nation.

He added: “At the end of the day, people with disabilities want to work and, if given the opportunity, have many valuable skills to offer. And as a society, we owe it to them to give them that opportunity. So let’s all do our part to get 40% of people with disabilities employed by 2030.”

The 40% target was among the targets listed in the Enabling Masterplan 2030, a national roadmap for disability inclusion released last week. Achieving it means placing around 10,000 more people with disabilities in jobs.

For its part, the government has implemented initiatives such as a wage compensation program and a subsidy to cover the costs of workplace modifications and equipment. SG Enable also provides job matching services and facilitates job coaching training and support.

Wong also noted that there is growing evidence that disability inclusion is a good business decision. He referred to research commissioned by SG Enable and conducted by recruitment and consultancy firm Heidrick & Struggles.

These companies tend to have a greater sense of purpose, leading to higher retention rates among employees, as well as a greater focus on customer needs, as employees become more empathetic and aware of individual differences.


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