How to exceed 6% of disabled employees in companies: the example of Thales

Each year, the European Disability Employment Week (EDEW) gives rise to an overview of current events in companies’ disability policies. Unfortunately, to find that progress on mainstream workplace integration is tenuous.

The figures are still there for the 2022 edition, which takes place from November 14 until November 20 throughout France: the unemployment rate has dropped from 19% to 13%, but it is still double the rate of the entire population, to 7.4% in the second quarter, according to INSEE. The latest survey by the Association for the management of the fund for the professional integration of people with disabilities (Agefiph) counts 460,131 job seekers with disabilities.

Recruitment difficulties have brought change. “Employers are more ready to integrate people with disabilities. More and more of them are approaching Pôle Emploi, Cap Emploi, temporary work agencies, adapted companies and the Agefiph network of disability referents”explains Véronique Bustreel, director of innovation, evaluation and strategy at Agefiph.

A small third of companies (29%) reach or exceed 6% of disabled people in their workforce

However, the national average employment rate in the private sector is still capped at 3.5%. The direct employment rate is higher in large companies and very variable – from simple to double – depending on the sector of activity, specifies the Ministry of Labor. A small third of companies (29%) reach or exceed 6% of disabled people in their workforce.

For example, the aerospace and defense group Thales has a rate of 6.69%, with 2,400 disabled employees. The goal is therefore achievable. But how ?

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There is no magic thinking, it is both the result of a long-term policy and a panoply of converging actions: company agreement, network of contacts, training, accessibility of buildings and workstations. “The rate was already at 6.5% when I joined the group in April 2021”underlines the current HRD, Clément de Villepin.

At the institutional level, a first agreement was signed in 1992; ten years later, an integration mission was created, as well as a network of disability referents, which today has just over one representative per site (52 out of 41 sites). “At this stage, we touched on the skills necessary for a good integration for the development of the position, the support by the manager and the control of the administrative process. The referents, because they know the site and the trades, made the link between the company and the outside world”, explains Mr. de Villepin. More specifically between the company and the national education system, to set up training for the professions that the group needs, as well as with Pôle emploi, Cap emploi, Agefiph and the establishments and services for help through work (ESAT) for recruitment.

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