In 2013, the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare Survey on the Employment Situation of Persons with Disabilities found that only 48,000 people with psychiatric conditions were employed in Japan. In 2018, with the help of a mandate that required companies to hire and support job candidates with disabilities, that number jumped to 239,000. This progress is heartening, and as more Japanese companies hire more diverse workforces, it is important that employers put systems in place to support, include, and accommodate employees with disabilities in the workplace.
Recruit Staffing launched Ability Staffing as a new service in 2011 to provide specialized employment support for people with psychiatric conditions. Ability Staffing’s mission is to actualize a “society with as many ways of working as there are individual characteristics.” The service pursues this goal by providing professional support to people with disabilities, including assistance with job applications, employer relations, and work-life balance.
Thanks to recent social shifts, Japanese employers have begun to rethink their stance on disability. More businesses now accept people with disabilities as people with different abilities, who may be more compatible with certain work tasks over others. Unfortunately, some companies still hesitate to hire people with disabilities because of concerns about interpersonal communications.
That’s why Ability Staffing’s certified professionals are on call to support communication between employees and employers. Mental health welfare workers routinely meet with newly-hired employees with disabilities, and Ability Staffing specialists investigate company working conditions and expectations. By engaging in regular reviews with employees and employers, Ability Staffing is able to support both parties and resolve any discrepancies in communication.
“Ability Staffing has been a great support system for me,” said one woman with bipolar disorder who found employment through Ability Staffing. “The certified mental health social workers periodically meet with me to follow up with how I am doing at work. You don’t meet a lot of recruiting companies that do that. I think checking in with people is helpful, so it’s really nice to know that Ability Staffing is making an effort to do that even after you find a job.”
In the past three years, Ability Staffing has helped nearly 3,000 people with disabilities secure employment. Over 94% of them remain employed past six months—a huge improvement over other staffing firms, which see only around 60% of people still employed at the half year mark.By creating open dialogue about disabilities and ways employers can help support their employees, Ability Staffing hopes to help more people find work that is right for them.