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The win-win-win approach to employing people with disabilities


VATES Foundation has carried out a project investigating the impact of employing people with disabilities or partial working ability from the perspective of national economy. Funded by Sitra, the project approach was that instead of support-oriented thinking, the measures targeted at promoting employment of disabled people and those with partial working ability could be seen as win-win-win investments within the national economy. The project team carried out literature searches and statistical analyses, and conducted a survey targeted at enterprises. Three key results emerged.

A survey carried out by Pellervo Economic Research PTT (Pasi Holm and Veera Laiho) showed that disabled people are clearly under-represented in employment service, despite the availability of motivated and even highly trained individuals. PTT estimated that from the perspective of public economy, labour market policy measures targeted at people with disabilities are self-financing to the degree of 22 percent. When the financial benefits to those who have found employment on the open market after implemented measures are included in the benefit-cost calculation, the degree of self-financing increases to 52 percent.

A study carried out by VATES Foundation (Jukka Lindberg) found that if there is a genuine will to have people with disabilities in the open labour market, we must dare to set a clearly defined goal which will be monitored and measured. We must dare to invest in operating methods that have proven to be effective, such as work coaching. The example of Remploy in the United Kingdom showed that workplace training, work coaching and other similar measures significantly promoted employment as well as integration in the workplace. In Sweden, a calculation on the operations of Samhall showed that from the perspective of national economy, a transition of 10 percent of the employees to the open labour market resulted in profitability sufficient for this type of employment, which is similar to the transitional labour market.

The survey carried out by VATES Foundation (Marjatta Varanka) showed that while enterprises are interested in employing disabled people and those with partial working ability, they need further information and practical examples. In particular, information is needed on financial support, but also on the adjustment of work and working conditions as well as expert services on the special issues related to the employment of people with disabilities. Among corporate decision-makers, 72 percent were favourably disposed towards employing people with disabilities or partial working ability. Thirteen percent said they would definitely employ a person with disabilities or partial working ability as soon as they found the right person; 36 per cent said they would investigate the opportunities available, and 23 percent asked for additional information. The total number of respondents was some 1,500. The results justify hastening dissemination of information to employers, which is one of the objectives of the government programme.

For more information, please contact

Marjatta Varanka, VATES Foundation tel. +358 50 5164 485, marjatta.varanka(at)

Helena Mustikainen, Sitra, tel. +358 40 560 5663