Building a diversified and inclusive workforce in Australia

Hiring persons with disabilities can positively impact workplace culture and bring financial benefits to organisations, says a government body in Australia.
By: | March 16, 2023

Employers who make adjustments to support employees with disabilities can save up to A$40 (US$26.45) for every dollar they invest, according to a research update released by JobAccess, the Australian government’s disability employment hub. Additionally, employees with disabilities tend to stay on the job for four months longer on average than those without disabilities and have 34% fewer accidents than other employees.

Titled The compelling case for disability employment in Australia – the unrivalled benefits of an underutilised labour market, JobAccess’ research update attempts to debunk common myths about disability employment and highlights the competitive advantage of hiring people with disabilities.

Daniel Valiente-Riedl, General Manager of JobAccess, explained, “In today’s tight labour market, there is a competitive advantage in hiring people with disability. It also positively impacts workplace culture with diversity and inclusivity and builds a strong customer-facing image.”

JobAccess cited an example whereby employing adults with developmental cognitive disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), can provide benefits to employers and their organisations without additional costs. Employees with ASD, said JobAccess, demonstrate better attention to detail and a more positive work ethic compared to neurotypical employees.

READ: Australia reforms disability services to foster inclusivity

JobAccess’ research also revealed that awareness of workplace adjustments is low among employers and people with disabilities. However, these adjustments, which incur little or no cost, can potentially be tools to build inclusive and accessible workplaces, and can be in the form of flexible work hours or locations, said Valiente-Riedl.

“Instead of being guided by negative attitudes and perceptions, employers need to start seeing the opportunities that can come employing people with disability. Increasing disability confidence and embedding inclusive employment practices is the starting point to build strong teams,” he concluded.