The Nation's Untapped Potential: How Small Businesses Can Tap Into Aussie Disability Employment Opportunity

While Australian employers are growing in their readiness to hire individuals with a disability, disability unemployment and workplace participation numbers remain stagnant despite critical industries struggling with severe employee shortages. Among these, small Aussie businesses have a highly capable, untapped talent pool waiting for forward thinking organisations to find them.

With over 4.4 million Australians identifying as having a disability, young Australians are particularly struggling, with 18% of school leavers with disability not entering the labour force for up to seven years after leaving school. Of all people with disability, just 53.4% are in the labour force, compared to 84.1% of those without disability.

Government initiatives such as the Commonwealth Supported Employment Plan mean growing support in this area, with a further emphasis on employer education and stigma reduction allowing Australia to become a global leader in harnessing this untapped talent pool.

We’re certainly seeing positive momentum towards disability employment support in Australia, kickstarting a shift towards a more diverse and inclusive job market, and by doing so opening the nation up to a slew of broader economic benefits, with employee shortages in critical industries such as trade occupations. Continuing to offer support towards people living with disability is paramount. This extra care and focus changes lives and industries.

With this in mind, here are three ways your small business can maximise a diverse hiring process and utilise disability employment to level up your operation.

 

1. Examine Your Hiring Practices

When writing your organisation's job descriptions, have a look through your hiring processes and see if they are inclusive for diverse candidates. Ensure your organisation's commitment to diversity and inclusion is clear to applicants.

Have a look through the stages of the hiring process and assess its accessibility strengths and weaknesses. Small things like accessible online application systems or alternative methods for submitting applications, such as phone or email, go a long way to accommodate different needs or to deterring what could be a fantastic candidate.

 

2. Utilise Disability Employment Service Providers

Disability Employment Services providers specialise in helping both those living with disabilities find and maintain employment, as well as employers in identifying, recruiting and supporting employees with disabilities. Through high level training for job-specific skills, these organisations prepare candidates for the workplace and also facilitate workplace modifications, wage subsidies and employer training. You can find your local Disability Employment Services provider online at jobaccess.gov.au/. The best candidate for your role might be closer than you think.

 

3. Enhance Workplace Accessibility and Accommodations

Ensuring that facilities, equipment, and workspaces are accommodating for individuals with various disabilities is crucial to attracting talent to your workplace. There is an enormous opportunity to adopt rapidly developing assistive technologies and tools that can assist the participation of individuals with disabilities. Promoting flexible work arrangements and reasonable accommodation, such as modified work hours or job duties, to meet the specific needs of employees with disabilities, will be critical to a fair and equitable work partnership.

By implementing these strategies, your small business can tap into a diverse and talented pool of candidates, enhance your workforce, and contribute to a more inclusive society. Those who are forward thinking will see the immense opportunity for business growth and competitive advantage available to them.