Inclusive Recruitment Fair 2022（只备繁体版）
Walter (Walter TSUI, CEO and Co-founder of CareER), distinguished guests and friends, good morning.
It is my pleasure to speak at another edition of this meaningful event. This year’s fair has brought together a record-breaking 26 employers hailing from various sectors, from banking, insurance and law to media, hospitality and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods). This is an encouraging sign that more and more companies are putting not just D&I, but more specifically disability inclusion on their agenda.
Even more importantly, this growing commitment among organisations comes not only from a desire to do social good, but also from a genuine recognition of the benefits that talents with disabilities can bring to a business: a greater diversity of perspectives, a stronger awareness of untapped market opportunities, and a bigger room for innovation, creativity and growth.
So hats off to everyone who has shown up today. That said, we need to think about the companies that are not here as well, why they are hesitating to diversify their talent pool, and how we can put disability inclusion on top of their minds. In fact, according to 2021 data from the Census and Statistics Department, the employment rate of people with disabilities in Hong Kong was less than 18%, three times less than that of the general population. So clearly, more work needs to be done to bridge that gap. Indeed, as Hong Kong now strives to build back from COVID-19 and maintain its competitive edge in the region and beyond, the importance of attracting and grooming talents with diverse abilities cannot be overstated.
It was, therefore, reassuring and uplifting to hear from the Chief Executive’s Policy Address on Wednesday (19 Oct 2022) that he has made detailed plans to create a more prosperous and inclusive society in Hong Kong. In terms of promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities, we at the EOC have quite a few ideas too, and we have recently made a submission to share them with the Government.
One of the things worth exploring is to provide incentives to employers who hire talents with disabilities; for instance, tax reductions, perhaps as a pilot scheme. This idea is in fact inspired by the subsidy schemes currently in place to encourage employers to hire talents with disabilities.
Another fundamental issue is that employers sometimes simply do not know how to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities at work, or they overestimate the costs of such accommodation. The solution lies in raising awareness, in equipping employers with practical knowledge about how to create a disability-inclusive workplace. In 2019, for example, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower collaborated with a local charity to produce a comprehensive Job Redesign Guide for employers. The guide features numerous pointers and case studies as to how work tasks, environments and processes can be reviewed and enhanced with cost-effective measures that empower talents with different types of disabilities to fully realise their potential. A similar guide can be launched in Hong Kong, drawing on the insights of the Labour Department which has years of experience in providing job-matching services for people with disabilities.
Last but not least, the EOC is exploring the feasibility of amending the Disability Discrimination Ordinance to introduce a positive duty on employers to provide reasonable accommodation. The keyword here is reasonable – an organisation needs to accommodate the needs of talents with disabilities by taking active steps that are proportionate to its resources and manpower. By amending the law, it is hoped that more employers would be aware of the need to play a part in providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities.
To pave the way for these changes, to enlist more allies to support disability inclusion, we need to work together, exchange thoughts and ideas, and celebrate success stories. And I have no reservation in saying that CareER has been producing success stories year after year through initiatives like today’s fair. So once again, thank you, Walter for inviting me here, and for gathering an increasing number of companies that are committed to furthering the cause of disability inclusion. To the young and bright minds here today, I wish you good luck in finding your dream job, and a fulfilling journey no matter which road you take. Thank you very much.