Disability and poverty invariably go hand in hand. Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities is the best way to break the vicious cycle, improve their quality of life and help them meet their aspirations. The employment scenario in the country is as follows:
- • 68 Cr people live with disabilities in India alone
- • 34 crores of them fall in the employable age group 15-59
- • As many as 99 lakhs are either non workers or marginal workers
- • According to the census, out of the 26.79 mn people with disabilities, 55 % are literate and 45% illiterate.
Even with a 3% reservation in government jobs, only 0.1 million persons have succeeded in obtaining employment.
The IT- BPM is a niche industry with specific skill requirements. While it is difficult to aggregate the hiring in the sector because of the stringent policies around data sharing, recent years have seen a substantial increase in hires, with some employers reporting at least 1% of workforce are Persons with Disabilities. However, hiring numbers have remained modest as often there is a mismatch between skill requirements and industry standards linked expectations by employers and skill manpower availability. When we look at this from a systemic point of view, it is very evident that lack of access to inclusive education for persons with disabilities coupled with unfavorable social economic factors have been a major deterrent in acquiring skills relevant to industry requirements.
In the last few years, we have seen a fair amount of acceptance and requirement of hiring people with disabilities in the IT BPM Industry. The Industry’s key focus area of acquiring skilled talent in these recent times has been to hire people with expertise in the upcoming digital technologies as compared to the conventional technologies. This has paved the way for organisations to look at multiple options in hiring with employing persons with disabilities as a part of the overall hiring strategy. This has ensured that organisations do not lose out on alternative talent pool given the niche requirements in the overall hiring patterns
Incidentally, in some organisations and skill areas, the maturity in hiring persons with disabilities has worked well and is worth mentioning as a case study in point to highlight how this is not only helping the overall hiring approach but also building the social fabric.
The below table is a snapshot of two critical components – persons with disabilities in the country, literacy levels and Employment – that define the Disability Landscape in the country.