31 August 2022

With record unemployment and high demand in the Australian Labor Market, Life Without Barriers is encouraging employers, with a particular focus on the care sector, to become ‘job ready’ for people with disabilities.

People with disability comprise nearly 20% of Australia’s communities and despite this 93% of people with disability of working age experience difficulties finding employment and less than half are employed. This statistic has remained unchanged despite record lows in unemployment.

Chief Executive of Life Without Barriers, Clare Robbs said according to the last ABS release, job vacancies have doubled since the pandemic - we have record unemployment and a huge labour shortage.

“About 4.4 million people in Australia have a disability. That’s around 1 in 6 people. Just 53.4% of people with disability are in the labour force, compared with 84.1% of those without disabilities.

“It’s time for Australian employers to meaningfully improve employment opportunities for the 113,000 people with disability that are currently looking for work and cultivate a diverse workforce within our sector.

“The reality is most Australians are experiencing record lows in unemployment, but not all. Unemployment rates will always fluctuate based on economic conditions, yet the ingrained barriers faced by people with disability are likely to be pervasive until we actively do something about it.

Ms Robbs said the National Jobs Summit is significant to the future considerations of Australia’s labour market and employers in the care sector are in a prime position to lead the way in challenging the inclusiveness of their own workforce strategies.

“It is employers who can make an immediate difference in what is a pressing social justice and human rights issue. The care sector is one of Australia’s top industries for employment growth – the career opportunities are substantial. We are in the perfect position as a sector to show other employers how to create inclusive workforces that recognise the importance of hiring people with disability.”

Life Without Barriers will launch its new Access Inclusion and Employment Plan at the end of the month and Ms Robbs said the targets the organisation are aiming for are bold and achievable.

“Australian workforces should reflect the composition of the Australian community and that means the inclusion of people with disability. We can use this incredible focus on employment now through the Summit to challenge our own practices in the care sector and lead the way for Australian workplaces.”

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