By Amie Hynes-Fitzpatrick
Over the past several months we have seen a steady drop in the general unemployment rate in Ireland, reaching 7.2% in December.
We are ahead of the curve within the Euro Zone which maintains an average of 9.8%. However a closer look at these rates at home shows that 84% of working age people with sight loss in Ireland are unemployed.
A move in the right direction
Over 51,000 people in Ireland have self-declared that they experience significant sight loss. While for the NCBI this is a move in the right direction, it may also pinpoint why the unemployment rates within this community are so high.
Disclosure of disability in business has long been a hot topic, as fear of litigation, extra costs and disbelief in individual ability has prevented thousands of disabled people from entering the workforce.
As Ireland slowly creeps back into economic recovery, businesses are cautious. While inclusion and accessibility are considered desirable, the private sector is slow to invest in this under-used talent pool.
The historical stereotypes of dependency and complete inability have established a social welfare dependent legacy in the country. According to The Economic Costs of Sight Loss conducted by NCBI and Deloitte, taxation losses alone indicates an emergent need to change this, with the costs expected to jump to €63,743,444 by 2020.
Kickstart a systemic change
In NCBI our focus for 2017 and beyond is on reducing the 84% unemployment rate among working age people with sight loss in Ireland. We are delighted to partner with leading Irish companies to kick start a systemic change around recruitment, retention and talent management in Ireland.
Over the next two years NCBI will work alongside Fujitsu, Insurance Ireland, Specsavers and other innovative companies to challenge employment trends and to better support blind and vision impaired people into meaningful employment.
If you know of a company that would like to join us in changing how people with sight loss are included in the employment process please contact:
Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick on 018307033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.