Former Mac Bank boss bridges the gap

Written on the 11 August 2009

Employee loyalty is one reason to hire workers with disabilities, but former Macquarie Bank head Bill Moss is adamant that more needs to be done to bridge the gap between disability-friendly rhetoric and how ideas are put into practice.
MOSS Capital founder Bill Moss says disabled people don’t churn through jobs as quickly, are more loyal and work longer, but attitudes towards them need to change ‘from the school to the boardrooms’.
“From an employer’s perspective you don’t churn through the costs of changing staff – they are more grateful to get a job,” says Moss.
“To recruit might cost 20 per cent of a salary if you replace them, with costs for training so it can be very expensive.”
He cites an attitude with employers that if you hire a disabled person they will maybe skip work, get sick or create problems.
“But the reality is that people have household problems, marital problems, sick days off to play football in the park, all sorts of issues that affect the workforce in general,” he says.

“I think with a disability you know what the problems are and you work around them – it’s unfair that a lot of people in the workforce with disability won’t admit it because they’re scared of losing jobs.”

But it comes down to better understanding the society you’re dealing with, however Moss feels that despite good intentions there is a total disconnection in society between the ‘middle men’ who make decisions and the idea of people working with employees with a disability.

“There’s no connection between common sense and protocol – it goes on everywhere,” he says.

“At a conference one speaker in a wheelchair turned up, parked in the disabled carpark but there was no way to get out onto the footpath. It’s as if people adjust the boxes one by one and say they comply.”

He says airports around the world are among the only places where many disabled people feel they actually are disabled – professional people who otherwise manage to deal with day to day life quite well.
Moss himself has muscular dystrophy.

“I flew from Port Moresby to Brisbane but because we arrived on the tarmac they had to load me onto a truck, then I had to wait for a lift, all because they don’t allow wheelchairs on the tarmac,” he says.

“I missed my connecting flight to Sydney? Why? Sure I can ring and complain but they’d say ‘we’ve got protocol’.”


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