Participating in the workforce is important for social inclusion and economic independence. Having disability can impact on a person’s ability and opportunities to participate in paid work. The following 2015 SDAC results are for the working age population (those aged 15 to 64 years), living in households.

In 2015, there were 2.1 million Australians of working age with disability. Of these, 1.0 million were employed and another 114,900 were looking for work. This means that 53.4% of working age people with disability were in the labour force which compares to 83.2% of people with no disability. 

The proportion of people with disability who are in the labour force is associated with the severity of their limitation. In 2015, 25.0% of people with a profound or severe limitation were in the labour force, compared with 58.9% of those with a mild limitation. In 2012, the labour force participation rate was higher for people with profound or severe limitations at 29.7%. 

Other key figures for Australians of working age include:

  • In 2015, the unemployment rate for people with disability was 10.0%; higher than that for people without disability at 5.3%. This difference was consistent with 2012.
  • Just over one-quarter (27.0%) of people with disability were working full-time, compared with over half (53.8%) of those without disability.
  • Almost half of people with disability were not in the labour force (46.6%), compared with 16.8% of those without disability.
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of people with disability working part-time, from 19.0% in 2012 to 21.1% in 2015.

Source: ABS 4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015 http://linkis.com/www.abs.gov.au/ausst/Il7gj



Job Access helps people with disability find and keep jobs, get promoted to better jobs, upgrade or expand their workplace skills, and more.


Employee Assistance Fund gives financial help to eligible people with disability and mental health condition and employers to buy work related modifications and services. The EAF is available to people with disability who are about to start a job or who are currently working, as well as people who need help to find and prepare for a job. It is also available to people with disability who are self-employed, and jobseekers who need Auslan assistance, or special work equipment to look for and prepare for a job.


Disclosure: It's A Personal Decision  'Choosing Your Path. Disclosure: It's A Personal Decision' is a web based resource published by Western Sydney University and the University of Ballarat http://westernsydney.edu.au/choosingyourpath


Australian Human Rights Commission  Advice on the operation of discrimination law and complaints. A Disability Action Plan is a strategy to help your organisation change business practices which might result in discrimination against people with disabilities. An Action Plan will help your business to identify these practices and offer a blueprint for change and showcase your commitment.


Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers   A Practical Guide for Managers provides you with information on how to appropriately support workers with mental illness. It also provides you with information about how to develop and promote a safe and healthy work environment for all workers.