Ireland has the fourth lowest rate of employment in the European Union among people with a disability, according to a new study from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Ireland has a 66% employment rate among working-age people with disabilities, compared to a European average of 74%.
The research, commissioned by the National Disability Authority (NDA), examined the skills, education qualifications and employment prospects of those with disabilities compared to those without. It found that people without disabilities have a higher job satisfaction compared to those with disabilities.
The impact of having a disability on a person’s employment chances varies by disability type. Specifically, people with a ‘psychological or emotional condition’ or ‘difficulty with basic physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting or carrying’ are most severely negatively impacted.
And, even if they are working full-time experience, people with a disability experience a higher poverty rate than their counterparts without a disability. A much smaller percentage of people with disabilities have a third-level qualification compared to those without disabilities.
While the data indicated that the percentage of people with a third-level education has increased over time, the education gap between people with and without disabilities remains.
NDA director Aideen Hartney welcomed the ESRI report. "This analysis highlights the importance of supporting persons with disabilities to attain skills and supports to attain good quality of employment, a key enable of reducing poverty," she said.
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