The ACT has the highest labour force participation and the lowest unemployment rate for people with a disability in Australia. While these are statistics to be proud of, there is still a need to educate more businesses on the benefits of employing people with a disability and create more employment opportunities.
Canberra Business Chamber, the ACT Inclusion Council and the ACT Government have partnered and developed the Inclusion in Employment Project.
The project helps businesses who have employed people with a disability share their positive experiences with businesses seeking new employees who may not have considered people with a disability for the job.
This engagement is designed to ensure Canberra businesses understand employing a person with a disability is good business.
People with a disability offer employers a diverse range of skills, talents and qualifications. Research has demonstrated that workers with a disability have higher rates of retention, better attendance and fewer occupational health and safety incidents than those without a disability.
For businesses, filling positions with the right person is a key to success. A person with a disability may be perfect for the job but be overlooked.
Like all employees, people with a disability bring a range of skills, talents and abilities to the workplace. Many people with a disability hold tertiary or trade qualifications.
When 61 per cent of Canberra businesses report they are finding it difficult to attract required workers, this is a talented pool of potential employees that must not be discounted simply due to a lack of understanding.
The Inclusion in Employment Project aims to address questions employers may have and educate them on the services and support structures in place for businesses that employ people with a disability.
Studies have shown employees and customers are more loyal to organisations that demonstrate they value diversity and inclusion and that their workforce reflects the community as a whole.
A report from the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with Deloitte Australia found people with a disability are three times more likely to avoid an organisation and twice as likely to dissuade others because of an organisation’s negative diversity reputation.
In addition, evidence of inclusion is increasingly being taken into consideration when awarding contracts and tenders.
It is not just individual businesses that benefit from employment of people with a disability. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers paper, almost $50 billion could be added to Australia’s economy by 2050 if Australia stepped up into the top eight OECD countries in the employment of people with a disability.
Local businesses have been quick to get involved and four Canberra companies are already employing through this project. These are: Capital Chemist Charnwood, Eric Martin and Associates, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers and Gungahlin Lakes Golf and Community Club.