Inclusion of persons with disabilities in companies makes good business sense

Inclusion of persons with disabilities in private sector companies in the region is both the right thing to do and a smart business move, says ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat.

Press release | 25 June 2023
BEIRUT (ILO News) - An event held by the ILO’s Global Business and Disability Network (ILO GBDN) brought together actors from the business and disabilities communities across the Arab States region in a virtual event, to share latest good corporate practices and lessons learned on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in private sector companies.

Participants also discussed the importance of business partnerships and highlighted the work of NBDNs and relevant initiatives in the region.

ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba said that persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the devastating labour market impact of recent and current global crises, including the pandemic, armed conflict and its economic ramifications, and climate change.

“Both globally and in the Arab States, persons with disabilities are typically amongst those who suffer most from the impacts of these crises. They are still among the most marginalised groups in society, and for them, existing barriers to decent work are often magnified,” Regional Director Jaradat said at the opening of the virtual event.

The event brought together representatives from individual companies, Employer and Business Membership Organizations (EBMOs), National Business and Disability Networks (NBDNs), and organisations interested in promoting decent work for persons with disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities, including those with invisible disabilities, make up a significant part of the population and most of them are of working age. They experience much lower rates of employment in comparison to people without disabilities,” Jaradat explained.

“Businesses increasingly recognise that disability inclusion is not only the right thing to do - it is also the smart thing to do. Truly diverse and inclusive workplaces perform better. Private companies can be leaders in closing the employment gap and securing decent work for persons with disabilities, especially women,” she said.

Regional Director Jaradat referred to the 2022 ILO report on “Transforming Enterprises through Diversity and Inclusion,” which shows that high levels of equality, diversity and inclusion are associated with greater innovation, productivity and performance, talent recruitment and retention, and workforce well-being. The report also found that higher levels of employees feeling that they belong can lead to a 56 per cent increase in job performance.
the ILO GBDN aims to promote decent work for persons with disabilities in the private for-profit sector – with a geographical focus on developing countries. It is the only business platform on disability to be facilitated by a United Nations entity.

The ILO GBDN comprises more than 35 leading Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) from diverse industry sectors, seven international non-business entities with disability expertise as well as the International Disability Alliance (IDA). At the country level, more than 30 National Business and Disability Networks (NBDNs) around the world are affiliated with the ILO GBDN. They provide country-level platforms for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), national and regional companies and local branches of MNEs, for peer-to-peer exchange and support on disability inclusion issues.

The ILO GBDN is partnering with like-minded global initiatives, including the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks, The Valuable 500, PurpleSpace and the Global Taskforce of the Business Disability Forum (BDF), to advance its goals.