Employment, Business and Work

This page features disability news on Employment, Business and Work from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.


World's Largest Clothing Retailer To Double Its Disability Employment Inditex, the owner of Zara “is committing to dramatically increase employment of people with disabilities throughout its operations.” (Jan, Disability Scoop)

ESG and Disability Data white paper a call for inclusive reporting and standardized disability inclusion key performance indicators for businesses. (Jan, Valuable 500) See also a blog on why it's needed.

Livelihood support for caregivers of children with developmental disabilities: findings from a scoping review and stakeholder survey. (Dec, Disability and Rehabilitation)

Proxy agencies for disabled hires grow as firms try to fill quota. “Japanese firms have been using proxy agencies to employ people with disabilities, hiring them to work for unrelated farming projects in a move seen as a way to fulfill official disability quotas, according to a welfare ministry probe and a Kyodo News investigation.” (Jan, Kyodo) Reaction from Barrier Free Japan (brief audio, no transcript).

How can we include people with intellectual disabilities at work? (Dec, Sightsavers)

Creating an inclusive culture actions taken by Valuable 500 members for a more inclusive business culture. (Dec, Valuable 500)

Lost in Translation: A global guide to the language of disability: “seeking to apply a single set of language guidelines across a global organisation is often not the best approach. Instead, recognise cultural and linguistic differences and use the language that your audience speaks – whilst seeking to empower the disabled people you work with and serve.” (Dec, BDF)

Note on ensuring that people with disabilities are not bullied at places of work. (Oct, Disability Evidence Portal)

Capacity to Contribute: We must do more to improve the labour market inclusion of people with disability. (Oct, The OECD Forum Network)

Evidence and good practice paper on approaches to Increasing Employment and Quality of Employment Among Youth with Disabilities. (Nov, DEEP / USAID)

Disability Inclusion in Employment Intensive Investment Programming a stocktaking and way forward on inclusion in public works initiatives. By yours truly. (Oct, ILO)

Barriers to employment for people with intellectual disabilities in low- and middle-income countries: Self-advocate and family perspectives. “Self-advocates shared experiences in the focus groups of workplace bullying, mistreatment by supervisors and colleagues and exploitation in the workplace which indicates that supporting people to overcome barriers and get into a job is insufficient for ensuring inclusion.” (Jun, Journal of International Development)

UN General Comment on the right of persons with disabilities to work and employment clarifying what governments need to do to realize the right to work. (Sep, A summary from European Disability Forum.)

Lessons learned on improving access to employment from Kenya and Bangladesh and the i2i project. (Aug, CBM UK)

Mainstreaming disability inclusive employment in international development: “a key message is that instrumental types of intervention such as policy and practice guidelines, provision of assistive devices and soft skills training for jobseekers with disabilities are necessary but not sufficient to bring about wholesale change towards disability inclusive employment.” (Jul, Journal of International Development)

Achieving disability inclusive employment – Are the current approaches deep enough? A detailed critique of recent programming in international development asking interventions to go deeper:

“Thus, shallow approaches, which do not address deep-seated cultural beliefs and assumptions about disability and disabled people (which are pervasive throughout the ecosystem), are likely to perpetuate the existence of opportunities for the already more privileged elite and further disadvantage the rest.” (Jul, Journal of International Development)

Global Trends Report featuring Technological Innovation for Disability Inclusion. (link to pdf, Jul, Valuable 500)

A policy brief on Making Digital Skills Initiatives Inclusive of Young Persons with Disabilities. (Jul, Decent Jobs for Youth)

The state of disability engagement survey data showing “employees with disabilities are having a far less favorable experience at work than their non-disabled counterparts. These significant differences are far greater than we have found for other diversity groups such as gender, race and sexual orientation.” (Mercer)

An Inclusive Workplaces Toolkit which gives guidance for employers how to make their workplaces inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities. “Creating a workplace that is more inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities primarily requires small tweaks and behaviour changes within a workplace that
make it easier for everyone to understand and be included in work.” (Jun, Inclusion International)

A review of effectiveness of interventions for improving livelihood outcomes for people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. The review finds studies reporting “positive impacts on livelihood impacts” but given the limited evidence it is hard to conclude about what works. This study calls for more studies. (Jun, Campbell Systematic Reviews)

“This programme is nation-building” reflections at the ending of a disability-inclusive employment programme in Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh and Uganda. (Jun, Inclusive Futures)

Equalising access to the labor market for persons with disabilities based on a project in Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. The report makes important points on how initiatives to support employment can have negative effects:

“Too often, employment of persons with disabilities has been approached
through a narrow lens of placing people into jobs, without securing
preconditions for inclusive employment such as inclusive workplace culture, provision of reasonable accommodation, and accessible transportation to work.
Worse, persons with disabilities have often been supported to access only a limited range of jobs based on prevailing stereotypes, usually low-wage and perceived low-skill roles, thereby perpetuating stigma and prejudice about what persons with disabilities can or cannot do. This is particularly the case for most marginalized groups, such as persons with intellectual disabilities.”

It also questions the emphasis on the ”business case” when advocating with employers, and argues for a “critical consciousness on disability amongst employers”:

“The business case approach to promote inclusive employment must
be rooted in human rights and social justice to ensure that a for-profit
argument does not lead to further exclusion of those with high risks
of marginalization. Employers need to recognize past and present
marginalization and discrimination of persons with disabilities and
take active responsibility to transform the labor market to become
open, accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities.” (Jun, IDA)

New ILO database highlights labour market challenges of persons with disabilities. From 60 countries with available data:

“The labour force participation rate of people with disabilities is very low. Globally, seven in ten persons with disabilities are inactive (that is, neither in employment nor unemployed), compared with four in ten persons without disabilities. While the inactivity rate is higher for both women and men with disabilities than for those without, it is particularly high among women with disabilities. This suggests that they face a double disadvantage in the labour market on account of both their sex and their disability status.” (Jun, ILO)

How can public and civil services support people with disabilities into senior roles? (May, Global Government Forum)

This year's Harkin Summit was held in Belfast (Jun, BBC)

The Valuable 500 taking action: Inclusive moments from companies in the Valuable 500 network (May, Valuable 500)

LinkedIn Adds ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ To Skills List In Effort To Destigmatize. Dyslexic thinking being seen as ‘strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills’. (Mar, The Drum)

Is It The Yuk Factor? Disabilty Advocacy Is Growing Up. Interview with Susan Scott Parker. (Mar, Forbes)

The Valuable 500 Launch World’s First Global Directory of Disability Inclusion Specialists (Mar, Valuable 500)

An ILO report Transforming enterprises through diversity and inclusion. “Overcoming inclusion as a privilege of seniority is key to fully realizing the business benefits it offers” (Apr, ILO)

ILO Global Business and Disability Network Annual Report 2021 (ILO)

What is the current evidence on promoting employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities? Recommends supported employment; little evidence from low- and middle-income countries. (Jan, Disability Evidence Portal)

A spotlight on Inclusion Breakthroughs in 2021 (Feb, Valuable 500)

The upcoming G20, hosted by Indonesia will promote employment for persons with disabilities. (Jan, Antara News)

From the ITCILO with Cornell University, a course on Disability in the Workplace a 90 minutes training. (Jan, ILO)


Cross-Country Brief on Trends in Inclusive Employment (Mastercard Foundation)

Disability inclusion in the African business community: latest trends and good practices. Includes big multinational companies Unilever and Safaricom setting recruitment targets of 5% of persons with disabilities in their workforces by 2025. (Link to pdf, Feb, ILO)


A policy paper on Preferential Contracting for Persons with Disabilities “an in-depth look at the practice of using public procurement to promote the employment of persons with disabilities” (Nov, UNESCAP)

A resource guide for employers on Tapping the potential of persons with disabilities (Mar, ILO)


Research reveals employer attitudes to disability. “The survey of Australian Network on Disability’s 400 member organisations, including some of the country’s biggest corporations, major universities, and government departments, found 68 per cent do not have targets for the employment of people with disability.” (Mar, Pro Bono)

Australia is lagging when it comes to employing people with disability – “it will need to take affirmative action.” (Feb, The Conversation)

Many Australian bosses believe disabled staff faking impairment. (Feb, Daily Telegraph)

Royal Commission report finds Disability Employment Services (DES) program failed to provide appropriate support. (Jan, Royal Commission) Further reaction on the Guardian.

(Under)valuing lived experience in the disability workforce: “this study examined the ways in which lived experience was described as an asset in disability workforce recruitment.” (Sep, Australian Journal of Social Issues)

'The gap is widening': disability advocates say not all Australians are enjoying equal employment opportunities. (Jul, SBS News)

Low staff turnover, high loyalty and productivity gains: the business benefits of hiring people with intellectual disability (May, the Conversation)

People with disability working for legal pay as low as $2.27 an hour, inquiry hears (Apr, the Guardian)

Increasing board and executive representation (Jan, Australian Network on Disability)


Capability-sensitive principles for assistive technology to support young graduates with disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya into employment. “In Bangladesh, innovation hubs, SMEs and enterprise units are increasingly building new assistive technology solutions to strengthen capacity and assist young disabled graduates.” (Jul, Journal of International Development)

Bangladesh expands tax incentive for employers of persons with disabilities and third-gender people (Jun, BD News)

Conquering the challenges in employment: a film made by Bangladesh OPDs (Mar, i2i)


Supporting Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bhutan: Results from an Employer Survey (Apr)

“I want to achieve more, so that I can inspire more people” Living and Working with a Disability in Bhutan. A nice presentation of case studies and pictures from a project supporting disabled people with small grants. (Royal Thimphu College and Fora Education)

Microgrants used to promote entrepreneurship in a pilot project. A film was also made about the project, Dreams of Birds Flying in the Sky, trailer available on Youtube. (Jan, Kuensel Online)


A new approach is needed to ensure equality in the work place for autistic people:

“As an autistic woman from a favela, my experience with the job market has always been an uphill struggle because the selection processes are designed for neurotypical people, who generally are at ease with oral communication normative social skills, while the specific communication styles of autistic and neurodiverse people are not considered. My work with the Black Lives with Disabilities Matter Movement (Vidas Negras com Deficiência in Portuguese), a movement that focuses on race and disability [...] has helped me to understand that these selective processes were built to prioritize white and non-disabled bodies.” (Jun, Minority Rights Group International)

Inclusion with Accessibility at Work a site with quite a few resources (in Portuguese)


The Government sets quota of 2% for the recruitment of persons with disabilities. (Mar, Khmer Times)


Prejudice robs disabled women of work "Laws to protect disabled people are not enforced in the central African nation, leaving many without jobs. But a local organisation is helping equip disabled women for work." (Dec, New Frame)


Diversity Works research looking at employment journeys of black, indigenous and people of colour with disabilities. (Aug, Canadian Association for Supported Employment)

Opinion: It’s time for a culture shift where disability inclusion is concerned. By friend of the Debrief, Yazmine Laroche. (Jun, Globe and Mail)

Up to $270 million is available to fund projects to connect persons with disabilities with good jobs. (May, Government of Canada)

A report on disability inclusion in MBA programs “half of the respondents had a negative perception of employers' on-campus recruitment drives“ including stereotyping and ableism. (Access to Success)

Employers’ lessons learned in hiring, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities (Feb, Public Policy Forum)

Hiring more people with disabilities can address labour shortages > "Labour shortages are one of the biggest issues facing Canadian companies right now, but there’s an underrepresented and untapped pool of skilled Canadians that could help close the gap: people with disabilities." (Dec, Globe and Mail)


How businesses manage law 21.015 on inclusion of disabled people in the labour market. (Dec, Azarbe)


Supported employment helps people with Down syndrome find jobs (Mar, Xinhua News)


A toolkit for Public Employment Services to combat labour market discrimination against persons with disabilities. (Sep, European Commission)

Disability Employment Package to improve labour market outcomes for persons with disabilities (European Commission)

Disability and Gender Gaps: a position paper addressing unequal employment of women with disabilities. (Sep, EDF)

EU historic agreement on minimum wage covers workers with disabilities. (Jul, EDF)

Working at EU institutions not easy for ethnic minority staff “Working for the EU institutions is no walk in the park for people of colour or with disability, with almost 60 percent of respondents from both categories saying they have observed or experienced discrimination.” (May, EU Observer)


The disability employment quota between social policy and antidiscrimination (Nov, Anne Revillard)


Supreme Court gives a welcome order with problematic observations. Judges accepted inclusion of disabled people in public services they had been excluded from, but accompanied this with “seemingly discouraging remarks”. (Nov, Indian Express)

Article on employment of persons with disabilities and statistics from public and private sectors. (Oct, Business Standard)

Official Data Shows Central Government Jobs for Disabled Persons Have Declined Since 2018 (Jul, The Wire)

Enabling Inclusive: Best Practices in Disability Inclusion in Manufacturing Sector (link to pdf, Mar, IBDN)

The Supreme Court bats for disabled people in police force. “Experiment it for a while and if it does not work then you may not continue with it.” (May, Times of India)


A Different Way of Learning feature on how “Indonesians with Autism Forge Their Own Path to Education and Employment”. (Oct, Disability Justice Project)

Inside Indonesia's grassroots fight for accessibility. (Sep, FairPlanet)

Out of Their Hands video feature on blind massage therapists and other employment challenges for those with visual impairments, including the impact of the pandemic. (Aug, Disability Justice Project)

New skills helped my business recover from pandemic. Feature trainings for entrepreneurs with disabilities. (Feb, ILO)


Graduates with disabilities are less likely to be employed – and are paid less. (Feb, Independent.ie)


Capability-sensitive principles for assistive technology to support young graduates with disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya into employment. (Jul, Journal of International Development)

New $6 million Inclusive Futures programme launched which "aims to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly women, and improve labour rights at two large Kenyan companies. " (Mar, Inclusive Futures)

Unemployment in women with psychosocial disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons from Tana River County. "We found that the pandemic worsened their experiences of work and employment, and they did not receive any social welfare or support from the government." (Feb, Journal of International Development)

Safaricom in partnership to offer internships for People with Disabilities (Feb, KBC)

Business as Unusual Disability inclusion practices of private sector employers. (Dec, Kenya Business and Disability Network)


Disability inclusive employment in urban Malawi: A multi-perspective interview study. Explores the gap between policy and practice, looks into the informal labour market, economic factors as a source of discrimination and includes a scathing remark about international NGOs that “come to Malawi”:

“They come with their agenda of inclusion. But you'd find that for them to accommodate persons with disabilities, it would not be easy for them. You'd find they have signed commitments, whatever, out there, but [when] they come to Malawi—nothing like that is happening.” (Jul, Journal of International Development)


Give people with disabilities a chance to work experience of a woman with disability working at an electronic systems company. (Mar, ILO Voices)


Solution and Success: Felix’s Story of Farming in Gorongosa. (Jan, Spark)


Lived Employment Experiences of Persons with Physical Disabilities: “over-protective behaviour from family members, discrimination by employers in recruitment, and continuance in employment were barriers.” (Apr, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)


Economic empowerment for women and girls with disabilities (Jan, UN SDG)


Decent work inaccessible to most workers with disabilities: a survey of 600 workers with disabilities. “Most of the 660 workers surveyed are self-employed and in the informal sector. Almost half of respondents earn less than Nigeria’s minimum wage and say their work environment is not accommodating to their disability.” (Mar, Solidarity Center)

Inside the lives of professionals living with invisible disabilities in Nigerian workplaces. (Jan, Techpoint)

Documentary released on women living with disabilities in mining communities (Jun, Guardian Nigeria)


This is a pretty tough industry: an initiative for recruitment into IT jobs. (In Norwegian, Feb, Kode24)


The Human Rights Ministry wants disability quota filled “The ministry for human rights on Saturday wrote official letters to 29 government departments to implement two percent disability employment quota.” (May, Dawn)


Survey report on 10 principles for successfully employing people with disabilities A mixture of experiences of disabled people, employers, and guidance for businesses to become more inclusive. (link to pdf, Dec, TAKpelnosprawni)


Search for people to build fortifications, including digging trenches, mentions jobs for persons with disabilities. (Dec, Yahoo! News)

Barriers and Opportunities to Employment for Persons with Disabilities (Nov, World Bank)


A video feature on Seeing Hands Rwanda which provides training and transition from training to employment. (Dec, Disability Justice Project)


Leadership commitment is key to scaling disability inclusion (May, The Business Times)

South Africa

In search of a landing place for persons with disabilities: A critique of South Africa’s skills development programme. One of which is that “focusing exclusively on providing hard skills fails to account for complex challenges faced by persons with disabilities”. (Mar, Int Journal of Discrimination and the Law)

A labour lawyer argues that very little has been done to ensure that people with disabilities have employment opportunities. (Dec, IOL)

The matrix of linguistic exclusions impeding career construction for D/deaf learners: “experiences at home, school and in social contexts combined, impact negatively the process of career construction and its prospects.” (Jun, African Journal on Disability)

Inclusive development: clearing up misconceptions on disability in the workplace (Jun, Engineering News)

How education, training and development support the wellness of employees with disabilities. (Apr, African Journal of Disability)

South Korea

”They cancelled my job interviews because I'm disabled” a linkedin post that went viral. (Sep, BBC)


Sheltered workshops criticized for derisory pay of persons with disabilities. Some receiving as little as 5 francs per month. (Jan, MA RTS)


"We are all different" video featuring the situation of workers with disabilities, discrimination against them, and political actions taken. Great selection of people working in different areas including entrepreneurs and artists. (in Arabic, with English subtitles., Oct, Solidarity Center and UGTT)


Closing the Employment Gap a feature video on how Ugandans with Disabilities Advocate for a More Inclusive Work Environment (Dec, Disability Justice Project)

Celebrating “Make 12,4% work” a project for economic empowerment of persons with disabilities. Report discusses the way disability inclusion facilitators implemented the program and a detailed description of methodology and lessons learned. “Disability Inclusive Development is an emerging field with no blueprint readily available for practitioners developing and implementing programmes in the sector. In addition, a high level of complexity exists due to intersectionality and the diversity in disability.” (Sep, LFTW)

Banking on Inclusion the experience of Stanbic bank. See also Lekker Bakery and Riley Packaging. (Jun, Make 12.4% Work)

United Kingdom

Why employer inflexibility matters for the recruitment, retention and progression of disabled workers.

“Whilst some disabled people may need specific aids, adaptions, or equipment in order to facilitate their ability to work, the vast majority only require changes in the way in which work is organised. In the same way that it offers working parents the opportunity to balance family life with work, flexible working can offer disabled people a way to accommodate requirements arising from their impairment. However, a common complaint made by disabled people is a lack of employer flexibility in terms of where, when, and how work can be performed. Despite disabled workers having a legal right to flexible working as a reasonable adjustment under the provision of the Equality Act (2010), employers often refuse.” (Jan, Disability & Society)

Non-disabled workers paid 17% more than disabled peers. Disabled women face the biggest pay gap and it persists for workers throughout their careers. (Nov, TUC)

Positively Purple a new book from Kate Nash on building an inclusive culture in business. (Oct, KoganPage)

Disability Pay Gap: “Mandatory reporting would only capture a snippet of the full picture as only large organisations would be required to report”. (Jul)

Employers influencing disabled people’s employment through responses to reasonable adjustments. Employer reactions to requests for adjustments in the workplace go on to influence the rest of disabled people's careers. (Jul, Disability and Society)

‘I was dismissed as simple’: People reveal the reality of disability discrimination at work (May, Metro.co.uk)

The blind farmer: ‘It’s all I ever wanted to do. Now I can help others do it’ (May, the Guardian)

Disability pay gaps in the UK: 2021 “The disability pay gap, the gap between median pay for disabled employees and non-disabled employees, was 13.8% in 2021”. There is a slightly wider pay-gap for men with disabilities, and considerably wider for those with more activity limitations, or with autism listed as their main impairment. (Apr, ONS)

Business Without Barriers: interviews with successful disabled entrepreneurs and personal accounts from employers who are helping to break down barriers to employment. (FSB)

Disability Smart Awards (Dec, Business Disability Forum)

United States

‘An inherent indignity’: the fight to get workers with disability a living wage. “Advocates are highlighting a system of state tax credits across the US that allow employers to pay employees as low as $3 an hour” (Mar, the Guardian)

Women of Color Lose Billions Each Year a report on the negative effects of job segregation on women in the workforce and its impacts on women of color and women with disabilities:

“The 10 occupations employing the most disabled women pay, on average, $41,200 per year – $15,800 less than the average annual wage across the 10 most-common occupations for non-disabled men. If that gap were closed, disabled women in these 10 occupations would make $9 billion more in a year.” (Mar, National Partnership for Women and Families)

Disability Justice—in the Workplace (and Beyond) (Feb, NPQ)

Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Jan, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

My Daughter Expects to Work. Will She Make Only $3.35 an Hour? “Changing expectations, especially those informed by decades of social and economic discrimination, takes time, and ending 14(c) certificates [that permit employers to pay disabled people less than the minimum wage] is just the beginning.” (Jan, New York Times)

Disability disparities in STEM: Gaps in salaries and representation for doctorate recipients with disabilities. “Doctorate recipients working in STEM with early onset disabilities (identified <25 years of age) earned $10,580 less per year than non-disabled workers.” (Dec, MedRxiv)

What the Disability Community Told Us About Sheltered Workshops in Missouri. “The respondents told me that they would be devastated if their sheltered workshops were forced to shut down. Some family members even bypassed our outreach questions and instead sent in letters expressing opposition to any changes to the federal subminimum wage law or requesting that sheltered workshops remain open in the state.” (Nov, ProPublica)

For Disabled Workers, a Tight Labor Market Opens New Doors (Oct, New York Times)

Federal agencies recommend strategies to expand disability employment in state and local government. (Aug, Disability Scoop)

Supporting Employees with Long COVID: A Guide for Employers (EARN and JAN)

Twenty-Two Cents an Hour a book by Doug Crandell on Disability Rights and the Fight to End Subminimum Wages (Apr, Cornell University Press)

Disability Representation on Boards Is Up, Yet Inclusion Lags. (Jul, Bloomberg Law)

Human Resources software aims to make disclosing disability easier. Disclo is software for employers to “collect, verify, and manage health disclosures and employee accommodation requests”. (Aug, Forbes)

Including Disability in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Priorities: Building A Maturity Model (Jun, AskEARN)

New edited collection on Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Interests, Issues and Opportunities. “This collection provides an opportunity to look at how discrimination can occur across the employment process and what can be done to minimize the exclusionary practices that prevent neurodiverse individuals from getting into the workplace, advancing, thriving, and contributing as each of us desires to do.” The chapter on Shaping Organizational Climates to Develop and Leverage Workforce Neurodiversity is open access. (Jul, Routledge)

Making the ‘Business Case for Diversity’ Can Backfire with Underrepresented Groups by leading to a lower sense of belonging. (Jun, Yale Insights)

Detailed report on how Economic Justice Is Disability Justice “Achieving the as-yet unrealized promises of the ADA—and finally breaking the persistent link between disability and poverty in the United States—will require applying a disability lens across the nation’s economic policymaking.” (TCF) See also 7 Facts About the Economic Crisis Facing People with Disabilities in the United States.

Brand activism floods 'disability awareness' holidays. But too often, it ends there as well. (Mar, Business Insider)

Unemployment Soars for New Yorkers With Disabilities as Challenges Outweigh New Opportunities. ”New technologies and an explosion of remote-work jobs hasn’t stopped the unemployment rate for New Yorkers with disabilities from jumping 10 percentage points since 2019, while funding for support groups has been slashed.” (Mar, The City)

New Microsoft program connects recruiters with neurodivergent talent on a Neurodiversity Career Connector job portal. (Mar, HR Brew)


Barriers to disability-inclusive employment: A pilot qualitative study of disabled people's lived experiences. “The current institutional and policy framework is rooted in the Soviet legacies of disability assessment which conflates disability with the loss of working capacity.” (Jul, Journal of International Development)