Workplace adjustments, employer confidence vital to bridge disability employment gap: JobAccess National research

18 December 2023
  • National survey found knowledge gaps in understanding of workplace adjustments.
  • 60 per cent of Australians are unaware about adjustments.
  • 40 per cent estimate the cost of workplace adjustments to be significant.
  • Improving accessibility is crucial to ensuring the socio-economic participation of 4.4 million Australians with disability.

Making workplace adjustments is simple, cost-effective and benefits everyone. Yet, 60 per cent of Australians lack awareness about adjustments and only 2 in 5 people perceive workplace adjustments as something easy. Additionally, most of them are unsure about the costs and benefits of implementation.

These findings are part of JobAccess’ recent survey titled “Understanding workplace attitudes toward people with disability,” unveiled today.

The nationwide survey aimed to gauge the awareness of disability and, more specifically, the understanding of workplace adjustments.

Unveiling the results, JobAccess General Manager Daniel Valiente-Riedl, said, “Workplace adjustments benefit everyone. It is one of the most effective ways to enable people with disability to access employment opportunities and work efficiently and comfortably. Yet, three in five Australians haven’t heard about adjustments.”

“This is a major challenge and missed opportunity for employers, seeing Australia’s disability employment gap has not changed in two decades and ongoing skills shortage that the businesses are facing.”

One key factor that the research revealed is the cost of implementing workplace adjustments. Forty per cent of respondents estimate the cost to be significant with an average cost of modifications starting at $6,800.

“Making workplace adjustments is easy and comes at no cost. JobAccess internal research shows that most adjustments cost less than $1,000. Some changes, such as flexible working hours or arrangements, cost nothing and benefit all employees, not just people with disability.”

“Modifications like assistive technology, disability awareness training for managers and staff, and specialised one-on-on support can be funded through the Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF).”

Since 2006, JobAccess has managed over 65,000 funding applications to make workplace modifications, provide support and training to employers and people with disability.

The survey also found that 78 per cent of respondents believe that making workplace adjustments for people with disability is the responsibility of employers. However, 72 per cent of respondents are unsure or don’t know how to arrange workplace adjustments for an employee with disability.

“This is often due to low awareness about workplace adjustments, lack of confidence, and an incorrect perception that it may be difficult.”

“The good news is that JobAccess is here to support and fill this knowledge gap by providing guidance on matters ranging from workplace adjustments to building employer confidence and confidence – to drive disability employment for people with disability.”

“It’s time that Australian businesses focus on creating safe and inclusive workplaces for employees with disability, where everyone is welcome to work,” concludes Mr Valiente-Riedl.

Select the link to view results from JobAccess’ national survey on ‘Understanding workplace attitudes toward people with disability’.

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