More companies in Ho Chi Minh City and southern provinces are hiring employees with disabilities because of their high productivity and diligence, according to HCM City-based Disability Research and Capacity Development Centre.

Le Huu Thuong, the centre's jobs consultant, said that an average of 40 enterprises each year over the last five years had sent orders to the centre to hire people with disabilities.

Thuong said that manual workers were needed in the field of textiles and craft, and skilled employees in the fields of IT, accountancy and design.

"Most skilled employees with disabilities are hired by foreign-invested companies," Thuong added.

The Enablecode Software Company, a subsidiary of the Hoang Anh Consulting and Services Co. Ltd, in District 3 gives priority to hire programmers with disabilities.

"They can work at home," said Nguyen Minh Hao, the company's project manager.

The Dong Nai-based Fashion Garment Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the Hirdaramani Group in Sri Lanka and Lolly Togs Apparel USA, is known as one of the companies that have hired employees with disabilities.

The company has 85 employees with disabilities, said Nguyen Tran Quynh Anh, who is in charge of personnel.

"They are diligent and loyal," Anh said, adding that many of them had worked with the company for about six years.

Silva G.A. Dineshk, the company's production plant manager, said that workers were provided training and appropriate facilities.

People with disabilities can develop their career as long as they are strong enough to overcome challenges, he said.

Phan Thanh Tam, head of Fagi Co. Ltd, which manufactures products for children in District 12, said that people with disabilities who graduate from universities or colleges were able to find jobs more easily.

Tam, who has a physical disability, for example, was hired right after graduating from the HCM City University of Fine Arts.

Now, she has her own company which gives priority to hire people with disabilities, she said.

According to the Vietnam Federation on Disability, the country has 6.7 million people with disabilities, including more than 4 million people of working age.

However, only 30 percent of them have jobs.

Tran Quynh Trang, who is in charge of a project on promoting rights and opportunities for people with disabilities for the International Labour Organisation, said that people with disabilities were an untapped resource of skills and talent.

They not only have both technical job skills and transferable problem-solving skills developed in daily life, but represent an overlooked and multibillion-dollar market segment composed of themselves, their families and friends.

As the population ages, so does the incidence of disability. Trang said it made sense to have employees who know first-hand about the product and service needs of this consumer segment.

According to a University of Massachusetts survey, 92 percent of the American public view companies that hire people with disabilities more favourably than those that do not.-VNA