by Moses Mugadia
Persons with disability have historically faced low employment rates with only a few of them accessing formal employment. Currently, the COVID19 pandemic has hit hard the healthcare systems with no spare on global economies. Closing of businesses from small, medium to large enterprises has made restructuring the order of day. Consequently, employers forced to make tough decisions on who to stay or leave. With limited options and modern discriminatory mindset, disability might be used as a weapon for dismissal.
A deep check into the aftermath of the crisis means an unprecedented looming recession period for all economies, way huge than the great depression historically experienced after the world war I and II. At a time which mankind requires more cash liquidity due to forecasted inflation of basic commodities, companies are left with options such as pay cuts, unpaid leave, freezing potential hiring and downsizing. These options will have a great impact on the already made strides towards a diverse workforce. With high dependency from persons with disabilities, the pandemic pauses a great threat on accessing the basic commodities.
Light at the end of the tunnel sparks as the world strives to fight off the crisis jointly. Devastating as COVID 19 will be, it too shall pass. However, during this pandemic some sectors such as the
Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Agricultural and E-commerce have thrived due to redirected demand. Therefore, encouraged to attract diversity and inclusion at the workplace by employing qualified persons with disabilities. Whereas the hardest hit sectors include tourism, aviation, hospitality, transport and informal sectors.
Post Covid19, companies will have another chance to restructure and an opportunity to review its operations. Job reentry strategies for persons with disabilities providing an opening to tap on the existing but frequently locked out talents. Technological advancement has been put into test during this crisis with telework/remote working being embraced by most organizations with positive impact on efficiency on time and resources.
Need for accessible online platforms has emerged to eliminate the barriers for online working or freelancing which can be effectively performed by persons with disabilities. Investors should invest heavily during this downtime by integrating diversity into the workforce so as to reap big in returns in the future market.
Moses Mugadia is a Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Innovation to Inclusion Programme at Action Network for the Disabled.