New research has found that a person with a disability is four and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than those in the general population.
The study also shows that a black person is six times more likely to be without a job. This rises to 13 times amongst Travellers.
The research, which aims to highlight the inequalities in society and barriers to inclusion, was carried out by Deloitte on behalf of Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI).
Focus groups run as part of the research also found that some participants had been told by recruiters to change their names to make them more acceptable to employers.
Others were in low paid jobs that did not reflect their experience, while some were frustrated that because their education and skills were not Irish, they were neither recognised nor appreciated.
Today, BITCI has launched the Elevate initiative, under which 45 CEOs of some of the largest companies in Ireland have signed a pledge to improve diversity and inclusivity in their workplace.
Among the firms that have signed up are AIB, Bank of Ireland, Diageo, eir, Gas Networks Ireland, Roadstone and Sky Ireland.
“The global pandemic and movements such as #BlackLivesMatter have shone a spotlight on the major inequality in our society,” said Tomás Sercovich, CEO of BITCI.
“Companies have a fundamental role to play and know that they have to do more.”
ELEVATE aims to build a workforce reflective of society and under it companies commit to profiling their diversity and to take action to improve inclusion.
They must take a range of steps, including providing a diversity profile of their own workforce, taking at least once action to improve inclusion and measuring the impact of their actions.
BITCI has said it will publish a progress report on an annual basis and the first will be due in the middle of next year.
“We know there is a strong business case for inclusion, but it is also the right thing to do,” said Ken Scully, Head of Trading & Commercial Operations-Ireland at Marks & Spencer and co-chair of The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability.
“The reality is certain groups within our society face significant barriers to employment and we are proud to be working with other pledge signatories to change this.”