With the economic downturn 50% fewer disabled people are being placed in employment positions – which is bad for disabled people, but also for companies’ empowerment credentials.

Karen Geldenhuys, MD of IT recruitment company Abacus Recruitment, comments: “We have a fully-fledged disabled division and we are now placing half the number of disabled people then we used to during the past few months. This is because money is tight and companies are holding back on employing disabled people. This is naturally not good news for disabled workers, because I am sure other recruitment agencies are experiencing the same drop as we are.”
Employment Equity legislation stipulates that in medium to large enterprises, the staff complement must include 5% of people with disabilities. Furthermore, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment stipulates that for two points on the BEE recognition score, 2% of employees must be disabled and black.
When it comes to skills development, employers get three points recognition when 0, 3% of annual payroll is spent on skills development of disabled staff members. In total, 11 points are available for BBBEE score – and the requirements will increase in 2011.
"It seems companies, right now, are sitting on their pennies as the bad economy runs its course. Disabled people are the casualties, unfortunately," says Geldenhuys.