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Why hire persons with disabilities?

Leverage on an untapped talent pool

Persons with disabilities can bring the needed skills and contribute meaningfully when companies focus on their abilities and the job match is done right. They have done well in companies from a variety of industries, in both the public and private sectors.

Hiring them could also lead to increased productivity and lower turnover. Accenture’s market research in 2018 revealed that companies leading in disability inclusion had, on average, higher revenue and profit margins.

Staff turnover also reduced from 50% to 5% between 2015 and 2018 at United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) Scan Hub, which is the bank’s nerve centre for checking, digitising and archiving customer documents. This was after UOB adopted job redesign, making adjustments to work processes and responsibilities. About 30% of the team consists of persons with autism or hearing impairment.

Gain new perspectives

Many persons with disabilities have had to adapt and make adjustments to overcome various challenges in their lives. They could bring innovative thinking, offer unique perspectives, and also propose ideas on how to make the business more inclusive for its customers. For instance, Alister Ong works in Singtel’s Group Sustainability department, and his role includes looking at how Singtel’s retail stores can be made more accessible to persons with disabilities, and benchmarking the company’s sustainability efforts.

“Greater workforce diversity can also guard against groupthink, and foster innovation and creativity.”
Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development

  Alister, a participant in SG Enable's Internship Programme

Improve the work culture and facilities

 As employees interact with colleagues with disabilities, they become more accepting of one another’s differences and strengths, develop more empathy and have a deeper appreciation of how everyone can contribute to the organisation’s success.

Co-workers also stand to benefit when reasonable accommodations such as flexi-work schemes and workplace modifications (e.g. ramps and automatic sliding doors) are introduced for persons with disabilities.

Enhance company image

As socially-responsible consumption gains traction, disability-inclusive employment practices can enhance a company’s brand image. Existing employees may also feel more proud and committed to companies with strong corporate social responsibility efforts.

Siloso Beach Resort, one of two winners of the Leader Award at SG Enable’s 5th Enabling Employers Awards, also proudly mentions its workplace diversity and career opportunities for persons with disabilities on its website, in-room TV channel and other platforms.


Empower and enable lives

Not only does employment provide persons with disabilities a stable income and more financial independence, it boosts their confidence and contributes to their sense of self-worth. Employment can give people, including persons with disabilities, a sense of identity, purpose and social connectedness.

“It goes beyond a job. We are also improving and enriching their lives beyond the workplace, like their social skills, motor skills etc. I think that’s a very nice thing – impact beyond the workplace.”
– Mr Nadi Chan, Director of Foreword Coffee, an inclusive employer

Toolkits for Employers

Starter Kit

To better equip employers with the relevant knowledge and information, as well as to highlight some of the key considerations in hiring and sustaining persons with disabilities, SG Enable has developed a starter guide for disability employment.

Click here to download the starter guide to help kickstart the process of hiring persons with disabilities.

Last updated in April 2020.

Disability Etiquette Guides

Most of the time, it is our inability to approach persons with disabilities in the most suitable way that make us incapable of integrating them into our work lives. The lack of understanding of persons with disabilities stems from the lack of exposure, interaction and prior knowledge.

SG Enable has developed a series of work etiquette guides for various disability types. You can download the Disability Etiquette Guides for Employers.

SG Enable Online HRM Series for Employers

One of the key considerations employers have towards hiring and managing persons with disabilities would the Human Resource Management (HRM) aspect, ranging from crucial topic such as Recruitment and Hiring of Persons with Disabilities to Career Advancement and Retention of Employees with Disabilities.

Employers looking to find out more and download our self-help guides can click here.

To find out more about our training workshops related to these topics, please click here.

Job Redesign Guide for Inclusive Employers

This guide aims to help employers understand how to redesign jobs to better support and integrate employees with disabilities in the workplace.

It explains what job redesign is, how to implement it, and has case studies of organisations with best practices in job redesign. It also includes information on available grants and support for employers.

Click here to download it and find out how to get started!

Best Practices in Disability-Inclusive Employment

This series features best practices from the collective knowledge and experiences of trailblazing inclusive employers in Singapore. Developed as digestible content with practical tips and applications, the case studies in this series serve as a blueprint for organisations seeking to learn from others on how to forge an inclusive workplace.

Learn how:

  • Firmenich – the world’s largest privately-owned perfume and taste company – has redesigned jobs for employees with disabilities.
  • Shangri-La has integrated employees with disabilities through reasonable job accommodations, even at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
  • Marina Bay Sands has a Diversity and Inclusion Human Resources Committee, along with partnerships to improve workplace accessibility. Check out the accompanying video here.
  • National Library Board has pre-employment programmes for their Library Service Assistants, along with disability-inclusive programmes and services that benefit both employees and library users with disabilities. Find out more in the video here.
  • Deutsche Bank set up dbEnable, a disability inclusion committee that facilitates the employment of persons with disabilities and advocates for disability inclusion. Learn more in the video here.

More case studies will be added to the series later, featuring employers with best practices in areas of leadership, culture and climate; recruitment practices; workplace accessibility and accommodations; employment practices; and community engagement and promotion.

This series is supported by:

Enabling Work App

Enabling Work pic

Gain awareness for inclusive employment through the Enabling Work app, which provides simple, fun interactive learning for companies and co-workers to interact with and support colleagues with disabilities.

Learn how to:

  • Enable employees with disabilities at work
  • Make the workplace accessible and inclusive
  • Be inclusive in interviewing job candidates
  • Be supported through funding for workplace modifications

Scan the QR Code to download the Enabling Work App. The app is supported by the Singapore Business Network on Disability (SBNoD).

Enabling Work App QR Code

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