These days, more and more people with disabilities are joining the Australian workforce. But while many businesses are recognising the value of a diverse workforce, we still have a long way to go.
Did you know that people with a disability are still almost twice as likely to be unemployed (with an unemployment rate of 10% compared to 5.3%)? And for people with a mental illness or intellectual disability, the numbers are even higher with over 20% of people being unemployed.
So why should companies consider hiring people with disabilities? Let’s take a look at a few reasons why they can make a great addition to the team.
Strangely, not coming into work is one of the main reasons employers worry about hiring someone with a disability – but when you look at average attendance figures, it’s quite the reverse!
One study found that people with disabilities are actually nearly 40% less likely to take sick leave or time off compared to other workers!
Not only that, employees with disabilities often stay with a company longer. In fact, one study of a call centre found that their employees with disabilities stayed in their jobs an average of 4.1 years, while those without disabilities only stuck around for 3.2 years.
And for those who think people with disabilities are more prone to injuries – the truth is, they actually have fewer compensation injuries and accidents at work.
For employers, this not only means a more stable workforce – with fewer people coming and going – it means financial savings too.
Despite common misconceptions, people with disabilities perform just as well as any other employee once they’re in the right job.
Many employers also find that workers with disabilities are among their most productive, and bring something extra to the table too – whether it’s a different perspective, a lateral approach to problem solving, or a different set of life experiences.
This should really come as no surprise, though, right? After all, they’re often highly skilled at adapting to new or difficult situations.
And when companies are diverse and employ people from all walks of life, they are more productive, creative, innovative, and better at problem solving.
One in five Australians are living with a disability – and that includes customers from all businesses!
Given that this is the case, companies may be missing a trick by not representing these people in their workforce.
After all, how can you hope to understand and respond to the needs of diverse Australians, if you don’t have any of these people working for you? It would be like having a workforce with no women, or no ethnic diversity – limited, and really just plain wrong!
People like to work with businesses that are inclusive – and this goes for customers and employees alike.
According to a recent study, a massive 87% of people say they’d prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with a disability.
Similarly, many job-hunters actively seek out companies with diverse workforces, as they can feel confident these businesses don’t discriminate unfairly.
Long story short: if businesses want to be an employer of choice, don’t be closed minded when hiring.
Going back to what we were saying before – people with a disability bring a unique set of skills to the table in the workplace. And the good news is, they can share their experiences and insights with their colleagues too!
But even more so, it’s been shown that having people with a disability in the workplace improves staff morale, team work, and the quality and speed of work that other staff produce!
Keen to build a more diverse workplace? The government may even be able to help.
To help businesses include people with a disabilities in their ranks, the Australian Government offers a range of incentives to help make it easier.
Under the Employee Assistance Fund (EAF), businesses can access incentives to help fund adjustments to make a workplace safer and more accessible to people with disabilities – whether it’s by adding a ramp, widening doorways, or installing some bigger screens. You can find out more at Job Access.
Our employment supports help people with a disability learn new skills, get some hands on experience, or find a job.