Employment

Employment of People with Disability

Employment is linked not only to income and economic security, but to other aspects of wellbeing. Problems finding or keeping employment can, for example, have broader impacts on living conditions and opportunities for the individual, their family and the wider community (AIHW 2017).

Compared with people without disability, people with disability generally have:

  • lower rates of labour force participation
  • lower rates of employment
  • higher rates of unemployment
  • greater reliance on government pensions or benefits as their main source of income than people without disability.

Employment statistics

  • 53% working-age people with disability participate in the labour force, compared to 83% working-age people without a disability (“participate in the workforce” means employed or actively looking for work)
  • 48% working-age people with disability are employed, compared with 79% without disability
  • 51% of working-age men with disability are employed, compared with 84% without disability
  • 23% of working-age men with severe or profound disability are employed
  • 45% of working-age women with disability are employed, compared with 74% without disability
  • 20% of working-age women with severe or profound disability are employed
  • Australia ranks 21 out of 29 OECD countries for labour force participation of people with a disability [2]

Full-time or Part-time employment

  • 56% of employees with disability work full-time
  • 44% of employees with disability work part-time
  • 37% of employees with severe or profound disability work full-time, compared to 58% of employees with other disability
  • 63% of employees with severe or profound disability work part-time, compared to 41% of employees with other disability

Occupations

The most common occupations of people with disability are:

  • 1 in 5 (22%) Professionals
  • 1 in 8 (14%) Clerical & administrative workers
  • 1 in 8 (13%) Labourers
  • 1 in 8 (13%) Technicians & trades workers

However, this is different for employees with severe or profound disability

  • 1 in 4 (25%) Labourers
  • 1 in 5 (21%) Clerical and administrative workers
  • 1 in 6 (15%) Professional
  • 1 in 13 (8%) Technicians & trades workers

Unemployment

  • 10% working-age people with disability are unemployed, compared to 5% working-age people without disability
  • 30% working-age people with disability have been unemployed for at least 1 year, compared to 15% working-age people without disability
  • 80% unemployed working-age people with disability do not require additional support from their employer to work.

Workplace Adjustments

  • 88% of employed working-age people with disability do not require additional support from their employer to work.
  • 83% of employed working-age people with disability do not need time off from work because of their conditions

Employed people with disability who need specific adjustments to work, needed the following arrangements:

  • 24% needed a support person to assist or train on the job
  • 15% needed help provided from someone at work
  • 44% needed special equipment provided
  • 10% needed buildings/fittings modified
  • 22% needed to be allocated different duties

Employed people with disability who need specific Leave arrangements to work, needed the following arrangements:

  • 3% needed sick leave
  • 8% needed flexible hours
  • 4% needed leave without pay
  • 6% needed casual/part-time hours

Difficulty finding work

95% working-age people with disability who are unemployed or not in the labour force report at least one difficulty finding work. People listed the following difficulties:

  • 44% – own ill health or disability, compared to 1.7% without disability
  • 25% – too many applicants for available jobs, compared to 35.1% without disability
  • 23% – lacked necessary skills or education, compared to 19.5% without disability
  • 18% – insufficient experience, compared with 20.9% without disability
  • 18% – No vacancies at all, compared with 21.1 without disability
  • 17% – Considered too old by employers, compared with 9.2% without disability

 

View the full report “People with disability in Australia” by AIHW https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia/summary  

Sources: Except where stated otherwise, data is taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 via the AIHW Report 2019: Australians with Disability.  [1] VicDeaf.  [2] Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011 ‘Disability expectations – investing in a better life, a strong Australia.’  [3] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aur.2016.  [4] Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)