Hiring people with disabilities

March 13, 2018

Bangladesh's garment industry is aiming towards reaching an export target of USD 50 billion by 2021. An abundance of potential labor gives our ready-made garment (RMG) industry a comparative advantage. The sector can also benefit a lot from the country's existing demographic. Despite such opportunities, many RMG factories are still facing a shortage of skilled labor.

According to the World Health Organization (2011), persons with disabilities make up 15 percent of the population. Developing countries lose up to seven percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to the exclusion of persons with disabilities from the labor market. When persons with disabilities have access to skills training, they can significantly meet the rising demand of skilled labor, which provides considerable economic advantages. Many RMG employers are increasingly recognizing the value of persons with disabilities in their workforce. They say that persons with disabilities can equally contribute to the production process of certain jobs, even with higher job retention rates.

To promote an inclusive environment, RMG factories simply need to make some small adjustments at their workplaces. They also need to have disability friendly policies.

With advisory support, more than 150 factories in the RMG sector are gradually 'going inclusive'. They have installed audio and visual alarms, accessible lifts, ramps and handrails. Factories have also marked floors, emergency exit points and toilets with color signage and pictogram to improve accessibility. Some of them even made necessary amendments in their company policies.

In Bangladesh, approximately 3.2 million youths have some form of disability. High quality skills development is one of the pathways that can lead them to employment. According to the National Skills Development Policy, 2011, and the circular of the Ministry of Education, five percent of seats are reserved for persons with disabilities in all technical institutions, which show the interests of the government and strong determination towards disability inclusive skills training. In addition, bilateral and multilateral agencies, private sector and civil society organizations have also come forward to address the cause.


Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/society/hiring-people-disabilities-1423006