ID@Work launches free test for employers
Brussels, 16 November 2016 – Based on a study performed by an inclusive team in 26 companies and the publication of a white paper, Antwerp Management School and HEC Liège are currently presenting a free screening process to show employers to what extent their companies are ready to attract people with intellectual disabilities. The ID@Work test on www.inclusieophetwerk.be and www.inclusionautravail.beoffers companies a wealth of specific information on guidance and funding.
According to the European Labour Force Survey, Belgium’s active population (18-64) will only make up 58.84% of the entire population in 2022. The over-65s will account for 20.88% and the influx of young people aged 0 to 17 will be no more than 20.27%. Despite the rising retirement age, the inflow will be smaller than the outflow. It will take an extra 244,000 workers to achieve a 73.2% employment rate in the 20-64 age group in 2020. (Europe requires 75%, but the latest forecasts indicate 69.5% for Belgium). Moreover, the replacement rate of the over-50s will be 626,103 people across the entire country for the period 2019-2024 (employment projection model).
Advice and recommendations
We are approaching a ‘hunt for talent’ and our businesses will need to appeal to and use all types of talent in the future. One of the solutions is to guide people with intellectual disabilities onto the regular employment market. That is the objective of the ID@Work project. Based on a study performed by an inclusive team in 26 companies and the publication of a white paper, Antwerp Management School and HEC Liège are currently presenting a free screening process to show employers to what extent their companies are ready to attract people with intellectual disabilities. Participation results in immediate feedback and a comprehensive profile outline with specific advice and recommendations. All this is completely free of charge. The initiative aims to encourage all employers interested in offering inclusive employment to people with intellectual disabilities.
The test exists in Dutch and French and is embedded in the websites inclusieophetwerk.be and inclusionautravail.be. Besides the screening process, these websites offer useful information, news about the project and stories about companies who already employ people with intellectual disabilities.
The anonymous test results will help to create an employer coaching program next year in consultation with experienced organizations such as Synerjob, Aviq and Fegob. Antwerp Management School and HEC Liège also have the ambition to organize HR Master Classes providing additional training to personnel managers on inclusive employment, in particular for employees with intellectual disabilities.
Demographic pressure is not the only argument in favor of guiding employees with intellectual disabilities onto the normal employment market. ID@Work also sees a whole range of other benefits.
On a social level it may increase the chances of success of Minister Maggie De Block’s plans to get more people out of long-term sick leave. This category also includes people with intellectual disabilities who can and want to work, but seem to be stuck in the system for various reasons. This group of people is also at risk of getting into a precarious financial situation. The average incapacity benefit for disabled workers who have been deemed unfit to work for more than a year is 23% below the poverty line.
On a company level, funding offers financial support and the company’s social commitment and responsibility also reflect well on its business image. In this highly globalized business world of low-wage countries and dumping risks, such values may turn out to make a big difference for our companies. Finally, switching to inclusive employment encourages people to question certain processes, habits and systems and is often an enriching experience that breathes new life into a company.
On a human level, we all benefit from a more inclusive world. It brings people together, breaks taboos and improves the self-image of people with (intellectual) disabilities. In some cases, this type of employment will also increase people’s autonomy, which will benefit the healthcare sector.
Anouk Van Hoofstadt
Project Manager ID@Work
+32 475 94 36 99
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