Must include persons with disabilities in post-Covid digital economy
According to a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the digital economy is creating opportunities to build a world of work for more than one billion people with disabilities globally.
The digital barriers can increase the existing inequalities.
The report titled ‘An inclusive digital economy for people with disabilities’ was prepared by ILO Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN) and Spanish disability NGO Fundacion ONCE.
This report looks at the digital revolution for the creation of new jobs, changes to existing roles and work models as well as online recruitment processes.
Ensuring accessibility, fostering digital skills and promoting digital employment are the three main levers for creating opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Action by different groups of stakeholders is also mentioned in the report including the digital industry, academia, governments, workers and employers, and people with disabilities themselves.
The increase in digital work creates acute problems for people with disabilities as they generally have lower levels of education and training than their peers without disabilities.
New occupations and opportunities can be created with assistive technologies. To build an inclusive future of work, reskilling and upskilling will be key.
The report says that if there is lack of accessible assistive technologies, it can create new barriers. People with disabilities will not be able to use any essential digital tools.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated trends already present in the world of work, including the expansion of the digital economy,” said Manuela Tomei, Director of the ILO’s conditions of work and equality department.
“We must ensure that we direct this trend so that it supports an inclusive future of work in which the talents and skills of persons with disabilities can contribute to the success of workplaces and societies worldwide,” she said.
Fernando Riano, Director of Institutional Relations and Social Responsibility in ONCE Social Group, said: “In order to leave no one behind, the technological revolution which we are living and which has been accelerated by the pandemic needs to ensure an inclusive design for people with disabilities, so prevent it being a barrier for them.”