Two women working in a flower store
Share or print this story.
17 January 2023

Closing the gap in employment for people with disability.

A new disability employment pilot is one step closer to reality, with the federal government signing an agreement with a major business group to deliver the program.

There are currently 2.1 million Australians with disability of working age but only 53% are in the labour workforce, compared to 84% of people without a disability. It’s a wide gap that hasn’t changed in 28 years.

The pilot, which has been co-designed by people with disability, aims to close the gap in employment and create more inclusive employment opportunities.

The government committed $3.3 million following the national jobs and skills summit in September last year. The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has now signed on to create and implement the pilot.

“We know 93 per cent of working-age people with disability face difficulties finding work due to the lack of suitable employment and perceived limitations of their disability,” said Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth.

“We have been working closely with the BCA to co-design a demand-driven model for job seekers with disability and employers to build an inclusive, safe and supportive workplace culture for people with disability to thrive in their careers,” Minister Rishworth said.

The collaboration is expected to improve employment outcomes while also testing new ways to drive organisational cultural change.

Tearing down structural barriers.

Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said businesses were seeking solutions to make it easier for people with disability to get into the workforce and reach their potential.

“This pilot will help them do more to tear down the structural barriers that hold people and businesses back,” she said.

Participating businesses will be expected to have a demonstrated commitment to increasing employment for people with disability and existing support networks, policies and training programs.

They will receive incentives and support directly linked to positive employment outcomes with a focus on career advancement and middle management roles.

In return, businesses will be expected to:

  • Publicly commit to increasing their total disability workforce
  • Contribute their own cash or in-kind support as part of the program; and
  • Use specialist services which could include National Disability Recruitment Co-ordinator, The Field and RecruitAble.

The pilot is expected to be completed in 2024.

Levelling the playing field: Register for The Field.

The pilot follows the launch of The Field website late last year. The government-funded job site matches people with disability with jobs from inclusive employers. It’s all about levelling the playing field in the employment exchange.

The Field uses a similar model to other employment websites – job seekers with disability create a profile and businesses post jobs. However, a big difference is that The Field was designed with accessibility in mind.

Job seekers register to craft their own brand with flexible resume types, take virtual tours of organisations and check out suggestions from the AI job matching algorithm.

Employers can get on board the employment revolution, simplify the process of inclusive employment and diversify and upskill their workforce. Employers get free access to the platform until midnight on January 31, 2023.

The Leap in! commitment to inclusive employment.

Leap in! is a judgment-free zone where crew members, leaders and board members are aware, accepting and inclusive. We strive to give every team member the tools and working environment they need to contribute and shine.

Leap in! co-founded the Inclusive Employment Movement to break down barriers to meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

We’ve also created a free ebook Inclusive employment: A comprehensive guide to creating a culture of inclusion for people with disability in your organisation. The ebook explores the advantages of inclusion and contains loads of tips and useful resources.

    Never miss an update – subscribe to Leap in! eNews.