Dispelling 4 Myths about Employing People with Disability
How some common misconceptions hold people back from equal opportunities.
One in five Australians has a disability. If you look in your own workplace, it’s likely there are already employees around you with disability who are thriving in their roles.
In general, people with disability are far underrepresented in the Australian workforce. Among those over the age of 25, just 23% hold paid work. The National Disability Insurance Agency’s target is to see 30% of working-age people in paid work by June 2023. An ambitious, but achievable goal that’s supported by initiatives like the Inclusive Employment Movement, which looks to remove some of the barriers that are unnecessarily holding people back.
Here, we break down some of the main stigmas for employers when it comes to hiring people with disability.
Myth 1: People with disability are not suited to skilled work
This couldn’t be further from the truth. People with disability embody many unique and specialised skills. Given the chance in an inclusive environment, they can easily thrive alongside their colleagues.
Maddie is one person with an intellectual disability who does just this, working at Endeavour Foundation in Cannon Hill, Brisbane.
“I think everyone who has a disability should have a chance to work in open employment, because everyone has different strengths and different talents,” says Maddie.
Myth 2: People with disability aren’t a good cultural fit
Bringing people with disability into a workplace offers immense benefits beyond just adding to the culture of the team. They can help boost staff morale, and can be especially skilled at fostering strong connections with customers.
This is something that Robin Adams has experienced directly. He employs Lucy as a barista at his Rockhampton café, Coco Brew.
“When she’s walking out with a smile, people love that type of atmosphere within our place,” says Robin.
Myth 3: People with disability don’t perform at the same level as their colleagues
When they find the right job, people with disability can perform as well if not better than their colleagues. In Australia, 22.5% of the people with disability who are employed hold roles as professionals and 10% are employed as managers. The possibilities really are endless.
Myth 4: People with disability will cost their employer money or resources
Compared to the general population, people with disability have lower workers’ compensation costs, take fewer days off, and stay loyal to an organisation longer than other employees.
If you would like to learn more about employing people with disability, you can read about the benefits and the process here.