Why employing people with disability is good for business

  • By not considering employing candidates with disability, businesses miss out on a valuable talent pool. When organisations make their recruitment processes and workplaces barrier-free to people with disability, they ensure that all potential employees with the relevant skills, qualifications and experience can be hired and do their best work.
  • Businesses with a diverse workforce are better equipped to understand the diversity of their customer base. Numerous studies have shown employees and customers are more loyal to organisations that demonstrate they value diversity and inclusion and that their workforce reflects the community as a whole.
  • Research has shown that diverse workplaces are likely to be more engaged, motivated and productive. Employees with disability usually stay with their business for longer, which decreases costs related to recruitment and retraining. Research on workers with disability shows they often have lower absenteeism and employee turnover and low incidence of workplace injury, which all help to create cost effective businesses.  Organisations which embrace inclusion will also most likely reduce risk of injury, complaint or breach of discrimination law.
  • If you are worried about increased costs associated with employing people with disability, you don’t need to be. Evidence shows that employing people with disability does not cost any more than employing people without disability. In addition, the Australian Government provides funding, for eligible persons, through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) that is designed to cover the costs of making workplace changes. This can include buying equipment and accessing services for people with disability. See the resources section for more information about these resources.

Watch 'Access and Inclusion is Good For Business'

Overall, building an inclusive, diverse workforce benefits everyone – your employees, your organisation and your community as a whole.

Introduction to Nepean Jobs For All

Nepean Jobs For All was a joint project of Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, and Penrith City Councils, funded through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkage, and Capacity building grant.

The aim of the project was to raise awareness about the under-employment of people with disability, and the benefits to business of employing people with disability. Its key messages are:

  • Disability is not just what you think (it’s not the stereotypes – there’s a diversity of people with disability) Watch 'Labels are so Old Brain'
  • People with disability accessing work is not just good for the person, it’s also good for the workplace / business.
  • Employment of people with disability need not be a daunting or difficult process, and there are supports available to help you.

The project started with 3 educational business breakfasts, one in each Local Government Area, that provided some introductory information about the challenge, presented by Australian Network on Disability. Following these breakfasts, interested businesses could receive ongoing support and assistance as needed, in order to assist their business in being more inclusive in their recruitment of staff.

Equality versus Equity

Many people think it’s important to treat people equally, but equal treatment may not achieve equity. Equity is where we do things differently (acknowledge and accommodate difference) to allow the person to be on a level playing field.

In all three pictures below, everyone would like to see the sports game, but only in the third picture is the situation provided whereby everyone can easily view the game (while still being safely behind the fence). An environment has been created where everyone can participate. The cartoon is a metaphor for the adjustments needed in workplaces to ensure that people with disability can participate alongside their peers.

EqualityVsEquity.jpg

Resources to help create barrier free workplaces

The following information may be of interest to local businesses:

Employ outside the box: the benefits of diversifying your workforce

Job Access

Australian Network on Disability

Disability Awareness

NSW Government: See the possibilities

Nepean Jobs for All finale

This Nepean Jobs For All project ended in August 2018. Throughout the project, 27 presentations to business and community groups were delivered. More than 190 businesses were engaged. Nine business received further ongoing support and information about disability inclusion, and two of these business proceeded to employ a person with disability. Three people were employed by businesses involved with Nepean Jobs For All.

Click to see Anthony's Story

Click to see Fawad's Story

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Business School were engaged to conduct an evaluation of the project which, when complete, will be available to download here.