29 November 2019

1 in 5 Australians have a disability, yet only half of those of working age have secured employment.

Today, the unemployment rate for people with disability is still twice that of the national average. According to the Australian Network on Disability, graduates with a disability take 61.5 per cent longer to find work than other graduates.

That’s why, ahead of this year’s International Day of People with Disability, Life Without Barriers is launching the Employment Without Barriers campaign, which is aimed at getting other organisations to consider how they can improve their efforts to employ more people with disability.

Life Without Barriers Chief Executive Claire Robbs said, “The unemployment rate for people with disability is completely unacceptable. It’s time for all of us to ask crucial questions of ourselves and address any unconscious bias we might have about employing someone with disability.”

Ms Robbs is encouraging employers to challenge the invisible barriers that prevent people with disability from getting a job.

“It’s crucial that we dismantle old fashioned stereotypes about what employing someone with disability means.

“Research consistently shows that people with disability are dedicated and hard-working employees who take fewer days off and are more likely to stay longer at a company.

“There are many benefits to having a workforce that reflects the diversity of our community – it ensures that companies are attracting the best talent, which will mean they can design and deliver better products and services. Studies have also shown that employees and customers are more loyal to organisations that value diversity.”

Life Without Barriers’ Employment Without Barriers campaign website includes a suite of practical resources, such as downloadable toolkit designed to give organisations and their employees a guide on how to ask questions and start important conversations about disability employment in their businesses.

The initiative is part of Life Without Barriers’ ongoing commitment to disability employment, which includes a pledge to make 12% of new recruits people with disability by 2022. Life Without Barriers is also launching a video campaign to attract more people with a disability to its workforce.

“We have work to do in ensuring our workforce reflects our community. That’s why we’ve committed to ambitious targets for disability employment and we are also working closely within our own sector to encourage our peers to employ more people with disability,” Ms Robbs said.

“By working with other organisations to change inflexible recruitment processes and to create more welcoming workplace environments, we can vastly improve employment outcomes for people with disability.”

To learn more about Life Without Barriers’ Employment Without Barriers campaign, visit the website, and join the conversation on social media by following the #employmentwithoutbarriers hashtag.

Questions to ask your HR team:

• What portion of our company’s workforce is made up of people with disability?
• What steps have we taken as a business to increase the diversity of our workforce?
• What data are we collecting to record how many people with disability have applied for a job vs how many have secured a job?
• How do our current recruitment practices support diversity and inclusion?
• Do we use inclusive language in our job ads?
• Does the business strive to make itself accessible – in a variety of ways – to people with disability? How does it do this?
• Are we taking steps to actively increase demand for people with disability in our organisation?

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