CEO, Business in the Community Ireland
Diversity and inclusion makes good business sense. Employment offers the single biggest opportunity for vulnerable individuals to move out of a cycle of poverty and become active participants in society.
In a report published by the ESRI in 2018, five groups were identified as facing the greatest barriers to employment and as most vulnerable to social exclusion.
These groups included: jobless households, lone parents, homeless or affected by housing exclusion, those with disabilities, and ethnic minorities.
For almost 20 years, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) has been working with some of Ireland’s largest companies to help support these groups back into employment. In an era of full employment, two thirds of adults with a disability remain unemployed. People on the autism spectrum face an unemployment rate of approximately 70%. We believe this represents an untapped talent pool for Irish business.
A blueprint for tackling social exclusion
Earlier this year, we launched The Inclusive Employer blueprint. It is aimed at implementing change in business at leadership and operational level to tackle social exclusion.
‘The Inclusive Employer’ blueprint is a practical guide to create inclusive workplaces – and reduce social inequality in Ireland – and is designed as a best practice tool for employers and is targeted at securing, developing and nurturing talent.
This blueprint has emerged from our Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, a business coalition dedicated to addressing the most pressing sustainability priorities as well as future opportunities for a competitive and inclusive Ireland.
The blueprint provides a clear pathway for human resources departments, strategic planners, recruitment experts and talent retention specialists to finally eradicate inherited disadvantage, which often runs through families and communities.
This blueprint spells out what practical steps employers can take to reach into these families and communities and help transform their lives. This is a mobilising call for some employers who, up to now, have not fully realised the benefits of inclusive recruitment but it also provides step-by-step guides to business and industry who understand the long-term value of being inclusive employers but who have never had the tools to implement real change.
Ideas for action
Some actionable ideas from the blueprint include:
- Rewrite job descriptions to be more inclusive
- Train all staff on unconscious bias
- Ask your supply chain about their diversity and inclusion and reward suppliers who demonstrate a commitment
- Engage with outreach programmes targeted at education and employment like Business in the Community Ireland’s range of initiatives in this area
Download the blueprint