Research reveals employers’ attitudes to hiring people with disability

This year the Australian Disability Network conducted a series of short surveys into our 400 member organisations, to help us capture much-needed data on the employment of people with disability in Australia.

The research incorporated three very short surveys – each requiring only a few minutes to complete. The first focused on workplace adjustments, the second survey examined employment targets and challenges in employing people with disability and the third survey asked our members about the employment and retention of people with disability.

We are incredibly grateful to the many members who responded to the surveys. The data has given us evidence-based insights into our members’ activities, which we will use to shape the services and programs we provide and potentially influence government policy.

We will share all our findings in 2023 however some of key findings of the first survey include:

  • 98% of members implement adjustments for candidates and employees with disability with the majority (87%) proactively offering adjustments. 57% of these members have a formal Workplace Adjustment Policy.
  • Surprisingly, only 35% of our members have accessed the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) through Job Access
  • Of these 35% who accessed the service
    • Members were most likely to use JobAccess for advice and training, reimbursement for adjustment costs (equipment and other services) and free workplace assessments.
    • 97% rated the customer experience of JobAccess between Good to Excellent
    • 83% rated the application and claim experience of JobAccess between Good to Excellent, with 17% of those accessing the service claiming a ‘Not Good’ to ‘Unsatisfactory’ application and claim experience.

The main reasons why 65% of our members have not accessed JobAccess were:

  • A lack of awareness of the existence of JobAccess
  • Limited structures and processes in place (formal Workplace Adjustment
  • Policy and Guidelines) which outline how to tap into JobAccess
  • Have not had the need to use Job Access*
  • Adjustments are funded through the organisation

*Australian Disability Network infers 2 things from the fact that some have not had the need to use JobAccess.

  • The majority of adjustments are free /under $500; and
  • There is limited demand from organisations requesting adjustment reimbursements as there are still only small numbers of people with disability employed in the workforce.


Key findings of the second survey include:

  • 68% of respondents did not have employment targets for people with disability
    • When looking at this data by organisation type, it was noted that in the public sector, 58% of organisations do have targets for people with disability. This is more significant than in the private and not-for-profit sectors.
  • The top three barriers to attracting skilled candidates with disability were:
    • Mainstream processes may have unintended barriers
    • Lack of resources to make this a dedicated focus
    • Mainstream recruitment practices make it hard to target any minority group
  • The top three challenges in seeking to identify employees with disability were:
    • Lack of internal capacity/know-how
    • Concerns about invading privacy
    • Not sure how to ask disability status in the appropriate way.

Currently, the findings from the third survey revealed the most common initiatives that organisations implemented to increase the employment or retention of people with disability were:

  1. Flexible work arrangements
  2. Focus on building an inclusive culture
  3. Developed a Disability Employee Network

These surveys have gained the interest of the Federal Government and are helping give employers a stronger voice in Canberra.

We encourage members to contact their Relationship Manager or go to the for access to resources, information and support.

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