We have no excuse, we were warned in 1996 by David Foot in his best selling book, “Boom, Bust & Echo that this was coming. Twenty-three years later some employers are just waking up to the fact that there is a shortage of labour across a wide spectrum of jobs.
This is creating challenges for many as it affects production, transport, customer service. I know of businesses that have had to curtail their hours as they did not have the staff. There are help wanted signs in every other store window where we live, some are multiple positions.
We are seeing it in the professions as we see more and more postings for accountants, engineers, nurses, doctors, and many others. Because of the demographics, this situation is not changing for a few years.
There is a labour pool with many skills and abilities that for the most part is overlooked. In British Columbia, there are roughly 350,000 persons with a disability. The unemployment rate for them is around 25%.
There are many myths out there about hiring a worker with a disability. It is thought that they will have to take too much time off, will not be as productive, will be a safety risk, or will cost too much to accommodate in the workplace. These are totally unfounded. In fact, most require no accommodations at all and they are five times as likely to remain in the position. Some think they can’t be disciplined or fired when in reality they fall under the same laws as everyone else.
These workers are out there. Give them your consideration when hiring and look at the ability, not the disability. By all means hire the best person for the job, but the outcome may surprise you.
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