Unlocking potential: What the research tells us about the current enablers of employment for disabled people

What are the untapped economic and social impacts of empowering disabled people in the workforce, and how can we unlock that potential? Especially at a time of urgency to fill 157,000 jobs for the Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics sectors and 300,000 for the Construction and Infrastructure sectors over the next five years.

The review report is the result of an industry-first collaboration between Hanga-Aro-Rau and Waihanga Ara Rau to understand the experiences of Disabled People, Tāngata Whaikaha Māori* and Tagata Sa’ilimalo** in the manufacturing, engineering, logistics, construction and infrastructure sectors.

The report reviews the roles of key national agencies, the status of disabled communities in New Zealand, and national and international research on the barriers and enablers of employment for Disabled People in workplaces within the above set of industries.

This review is a tool for multiple audiences, including newcomers to the disability kaupapa.

Kōrero includes:

  • How employment enables Disabled People in our society
  • How supporting disabled people in the workplace can increase revenue and productivity
  • And how getting more Disabled People into the workforce can contribute billions of $s to our economy.

Why is employment so important?

Employment is a basic human right. Everyone, regardless of their disability status, has the right to work, to choose their employment freely, to work in just conditions and to be protected against unemployment. Employment is also associated with a range of benefits for disabled and non-disabled workers, including improved physical and mental health, and better wellbeing overall.

But it’s not just the individual who stands to gain, the wider economy also benefits from the employment of disabled people.

In 2017, NZIER calculated a fiscal benefit of NZD $1.45 billion if the labour force participation rates of people with and without disabilities were equalised, while Malatest International in 2016 estimated the opportunity cost to the government from the exclusion of disabled people from the workforce at NZD 11.7 billion. Those figures demonstrate a tangible benefit to the economy of improving access to employment, decreasing underemployment, and utilising the talents of our disabled population.

To download the full report please click on the link below and if you’d like to discuss further, please email us at [email protected].

For the PDF version click HERE

For the Word version to use with screen readers, click HERE.

*Māori people with disabilities

**Pacific people with disabilities

animated people with disabilites working