Working with Disability Employment: The good, the better and the best.

Working with Disability Employment: The good, the better and the best.


Understanding disability employment in Australia is an important social issue when it comes to inclusion, a diverse workforce and a rich organizational culture.

Misconceptions exist in too many workplaces that hiring someone who has a disability is going to be problematic, costly and take too much time to train them. Having worked in a disability service provider, I personally know that this could not be further from the truth.

 The good

If you are considering taking on an employee with a disability, the good news (apart from a brilliant new worker) is that there are Disability Employment Services (DES) out there. The role of a DES is to work with job seekers and assist them in preparing to enter (or re-enter) the workforce. They are experts in understanding what role a candidate would be ideal for, how to work with candidates and ensuring the correct job match is made. 

The better

Looking at the statistics, the size of the talent pool of individuals with disability in Australia is astounding. The fact that some of these talented and hard working individuals are discounted purely on the fact that they have a disability is wrong and frankly could be a huge loss to your organisation.

Some disability statistics in Australia:

  • Over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That's 1 in 5 people.
  • 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss [1].
  • Vision Australia estimates there are currently 
    357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision [2].
  • An estimated 10% of the population has dyslexia. That’s more than two million Australians (Source: Dyslexia Australia).
  • 45% of the population will experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime.

                                                                        Australian Network on Disability

The best

If the correct job fit is made your organisation will be gaining an employee who passionately wants to work with you.In some cases you will be adding a skilled and experienced member to your team, in others you will be encouraging and training a worker with possibly very little experience. No matter what level of skill your potential candidate has, the story will likely be the same; a productive, inclusive and supportive work environment that will enrich the lives of everyone lucky enough to be included.