Disability Works Australia

About DWA

Why recruit people with a disability?

Businesses operating in today's market cannot afford to miss any opportunity to develop their workforce and increase their competitive advantage. Organisations that want to be successful in future will need to understand, develop, and effectively manage the diversity of their employee populations and target markets.

The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC)* estimates that one in five Australians (3,951,000 or 20%) has a disability. This rate was the same for males and females. The SDAC found that one in seventeen people (5.9%) had a profound or severe level of core activity limitation (ie they need help with one or more self-care, mobility or communications activities.


Employment-related findings, for people 15-64 years demonstrate:

  • those with a profound level of core activity limitation had a much lower labour force participation rate (15%) than people without a disability (81%)
  • people with a disability had a higher unemployment rate (8.6%) than those without a disability (5.0%)
  • people with a disability who were employed were more likely to work in a part-time job (37%) than those who were employed and did not have a disability (29%).

*Information sourced from ABS 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).
This information is current and up-to-date at time of print.

Employment of people with a disability is seen as one of the key issues in developing a sustainable competitive advantage.

Employers who hire people with a disability generally find that these workers are extremely loyal, have better than average productivity and above average attendance records.

Many leading organisations have recognised that diversity in their workforce makes good business sense because it reflects their customer base. Large companies such as Coles Myer Ltd, National Australia Bank, IBM, Westpac and the South Australian Public Service, have taken these facts so seriously that they have developed best policy and practices for the recruitment and retention of people with a disability.

"The South Australian public sector recognises the many benefits associated with employing people with disabilities. When an organisation implements good recruitment and employment practice for people with disabilities it provides benefits to all its employees."

Jeff Walsh
Commissioner for Public Employment in South Australia

"The National embraces different styles, ideas and perspectives to build a workforce which is representative of the community in which we live. Our emphasis on equal opportunity attracts and retains a diverse range of people worldwide. We use a merit-based selection process to support diversity in recruitment. In addition, a number of specialist companies assist us in the recruitment of specific demographic groups; helping us overcome barriers and up-skill our people to work with those with different needs."

Lynne Peacock
Executive General Manager, People & Culture National Australia Bank Group

People with a disability are an untapped resource, both as workers and as customers.

Matching Motivated People to Good Employers

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