With Treasury figures forecasting the jobless rate to double in the June quarter from 5.1 per cent to 10 per cent, VERTO is encouraging local businesses to maintain diverse hiring practices during this challenging period and beyond.

VERTO’s Chief Executive Officer, Ron Maxwell, said, "The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment has been colossal. We are seeing workers asked to take pay cuts, stood down, or losing their jobs in almost every industry.

"While this is a challenging time for anyone facing changes to their employment, for groups who already faced additional barriers, this situation could prove difficult well into the future.

"When unemployment is high, businesses typically have a larger, more qualified pool of candidates to choose from. While it can be tempting, when you have a large pool of candidates, to hire the person with the most qualifications, if they're over-qualified for the job, their tenure may be short.

“This often means our mature-aged workers, people with disability and long-term unemployed can be overlooked. Both the research and our own experience at VERTO shows that mature-age workers and people with disability tend to be loyal employees who will commit to an organisation and stay the course. Hiring from these groups can be a win for individuals, businesses and communities."

There are many misconceptions when it comes to hiring from diverse groups. VERTO works extensively with employers and jobseekers to train and place people from all sectors of society, and it sees the value diversity can offer.

"A common misconception is that hiring people with disability always requires expensive modifications to the workplace. This is simply not the case. In most cases, modifications are small, such as accessible software or computer keyboards, and businesses can access government support and wage subsidies to offset any costs,” Mr Maxwell said.

"Another wrong assumption is that people with disability take more sick leave or are more prone to workplace accidents. The research actually shows the opposite; people with disability tend to be engaged, loyal and hardworking individuals who value their employment and their contribution to your business.

“Research from the Diversity Council Australia’s Inclusion@Work Index found a diverse workforce drives productivity and job satisfaction among wider working teams. It boosts team morale and shows your workforce that you value diversity and can even foster innovation.

“Diversity can also have an impact on an organisation’s customers. Customers tend to choose brands that have a workforce that reflects them, so a diverse demographic in the workforce, can build the customer base too.

“Businesses can play a significant role in supporting the communities in which they operate. If businesses hire loyal, hardworking employees, increase wider team productivity, and improve community wellbeing by maintaining or introducing diverse hiring practices, it makes sense on every level.”