The September 2022 announcement by the Albanese Labor Government to invest $3.3 million to develop a Disability Employment Initiative pilot with the Business Council of Australia is welcome news. The partnership with the business community is intended to contribute to closing the gap in disability employment.
To further understand the barriers to labour participation, Angus Knight Group recently surveyed Australian businesses and people living with disability. The responses provide a rich learning opportunity for disability employment services; a full report will be released in 2023. Preliminary findings tell us that:
- Employers need more support to close the gap in disability employment
- People with disability want ongoing support to develop meaningful careers.
The state of disability employment
People with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to people without a disability, and the 30+ per cent employment gap has remained largely unchanged since 2003 (Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).
[Image description: Drawing of two briefcases, one on the left and one on the right. The briefcase on the left has 53% vs the 84% on the right. Text below says: “Labour force participation for working-age people with disability compared to working-age people without disability.”]
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth recently reported that 88 per cent of employed working-age people with disability do not require any specific arrangements from their employer to work, yet 93 per cent of unemployed people with disability of working age experience difficulties in finding employment.
Employers need more support
Of the 406 Australian businesses surveyed, 48 percent of businesses reported they could benefit from further advice and support to employ more people living with disability. Specifically, they want to improve their disability inclusion via:
- accessibility to workplaces and workstations
- human resource policies and procedures
- disability awareness education for staff
- training and development support
- understanding of job design for diversity
- understanding of hiring support to employ people living with disability
While 81 per cent of businesses either have, or are developing inclusivity and diversity targets, only 61 per cent of targets focus on people living with disability.People with disability want more than just a job
In the October 2022 AKG survey to 550 Australians who identify as living with disability, 62 per cent voiced a need for ongoing career planning.
Ms Newland said listening to people with lived experience of disability is key to delivering services that create a positive impact on their lives.
“When we listen to people with disability who choose to work, they are telling us they want quality employment, career advancement and the opportunities to reach their full potential.”The AKG survey also revealed that 49 per cent of people living with disability decide not to disclose their disability to their employer, while 21 per cent rely on an advocate’s support to represent their needs to an employer.
International Day of People with Disability 2022
International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is held on 3 December each year.
The United Nations observes IDPwD to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with a disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions
In Australia, the federal government has been supporting IDPwD since 1996 and invites all Australians to make positive changes to the lives of the 4.4 million Australians living with disability.
As part of supporting this important day, Angus Knight Group organisations, Jobfind, Joblife and Real Futures, launched a ‘100 jobs in 30 days’ campaign to support more of our disability employment service participants into sustainable employment.
This means we are also supporting more employers with the resources and tools they need to build inclusivity and diversity into the DNA of their workforces.To join the campaign and to access more resources for employers, visit our disability employment services websites: