Research reveals employers’ attitudes towards hiring people with disabilities

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1 Mar 2023

A survey focused on the employment of people with disabilities was sent to 400 major organisations in Australia, including the nation’s largest blue-chip corporations, major universities, and government departments. Based on 335 respondents, it found 68% do not have targets for employing people with disabilities and only 35% are using the Government’s Employment Assistance Fund through Job Access, which helps cover the costs of workplace adjustments for employees with disabilities

The top three challenges in seeking employees with disabilities:

  • Lack of internal capacity
  • Concerns about privacy
  • Unsure how to ask about disability status.

The top three barriers to hiring candidates with disabilities:

  • Many common processes are barriers
  • Lack of resources
  • Mainstream recruitment practices

Main reasons why 65% of respondents have not accessed JobAccess:

  • Unaware of JobAccess or unsure how to access it
  • Have not needed to use it
  • Workplace Adjustments are funded through the organisation

Other key findings:

  • 57% of organisations that have implemented workplace adjustments also have a formal Workplace Adjustment Policy.
  • 83% rated the experience of JobAccess between ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent,’ with 17% claiming ‘Not Good’ to ‘Unsatisfactory.
  • Only 35% have accessed the Government’s Employment Assistance Fund
  • The 35% most likely used JobAccess for training, reimbursement for accommodation costs and free workplace assessments.

“It is possible that the limited demand from organisations requesting adjustment reimbursements through JobAccess may be a result of there still being such a small number of people with disabilities in the workforce,” Corene Strauss, Chief Executive of the Australian Network on Disability, said.

“While the overall unemployment rate in Australia has fallen to a 50-year low of 3.5%, for people with disabilities, its current rate of 10% is alarming.”

Strauss said the finding that 57% of organisations that have implemented workplace adjustments also have a formal workplace adjustment policy was overwhelmingly positive.

“This result illustrates our member organisations’ deep commitment to removing barriers that prevent people with disabilities from finding work.”

The Australian Network on Disability works with its member companies to increase their employment of people with disabilities by adjusting their recruitment practices and accessibility and promoting inclusion.