The findings of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s 2012 Labour Market Survey are pointing to the prospects of a significant number of additional job opportunities for persons with disabilities in the near future.
Director of Economic and Social Research in the Ministry, Shaine Palmer, who made the disclosure during a recent labour market forum, hosted at the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) New Kingston offices, said employers and human resource managers participating in the survey pointed to the possible availability of just over 200 job openings in their organisations.
These, he informed, include : 112 for persons who are physically challenged; 62 for the deaf/hearing impaired; 23 for the blind/visually impaired; and 21 for persons deemed intellectually challenged.
Mr. Palmer said approximately eight per cent of the 606 employers interviewed indicated that they employ at least one person with a disability in their organisation. He said the positions they occupy include : accounting, law, customer service, sales, administration, guidance counselling, graphics, cosmetology, landscaping, farming, warehousing, farming, teaching, security, and information technology.
“We asked the employers (not recruiting these persons) to indicate… the reasons they did not employ persons with disabilities. A lot of (them indicated) that the physical infrastructure of their establishments could not facilitate persons with disabilities,” he informed, pointing out that a significant number of them indicated they would be prepared to offer future employment to persons with disabilities.
The forum, held under the theme: ‘Reshaping the Jamaican Labour Market to Foster Economic Growth and Development’, was jointly held by the PIOJ and the Labour Market Information Technical Advisory Committee (LMITAC), in collaboration with the Labour and Social Security Ministry, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
It was also used to officially unveil the 2012 Labour Market Study, titled – ‘A Guide to Employment Opportunities in Jamaica.’
Field work for the survey, piloted by the Ministry, and from which the study was generated, commenced in December 2011 and continued and concluded in 2012.
The exercise targeted some 1,200 employers/human resource managers island wide. These included 300 from Kingston and St. Andrew; 100 from St. James; 100 from St. Catherine; and 70 from all other parishes.
Of these, some 606 persons, representing 51 per cent of the sample frame secured from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) database, responded and participated in the exercise.
By Douglas McIntosh