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Are Organisations In Australia Diverse And Inclusive In The Context Of Disability Recruitment/Hiring?

Employment for people with disability in Australia

Human Rights Australia has observed that people with disability associate and participate less in employment than other people in Australia and the disabled people continue to experience extremely poor outcomes in participating in mainstream employment. Therefore, to make the workplace diverse and inclusive, the government of Australia has taken some current initiatives addressing the subject of disability issues in hiring or during the recruitment. Disability is different from other types of diversity like gender, race, ethnicity, culture and language (Wen, 2016). Inclusion in the workplace occurs when different and diverse people feel respected and valued to access resources and opportunities and use their talents at the workplace to develop them. The thesis statement of this essay is to show diversity and inclusiveness in the Australian organisations in the context of disability recruitment. In the first section, barriers faced by people in disability are discussed and challenges faced by organisations to hire people with disability are also explained. This essay highlights the recent development of the regulatory framework regarding the disability in the workplace.  

Disability brings barriers to the Australians when disabled people find the discriminatory behaviours and attitudes during the recruitment and in the workplace from the colleagues and from the employers. Disabled people sometimes do not aware of the rights of the work and disabled people face the lack of availability of the jobs. Australian Government published the new research named Employ Their Ability, where it showed that almost 77% of Australian employers in small and medium scale organisations are open to hiring the disabled people as they think that the workplace must reflect the tendency of showing diversity by including the disabled people (, 2018). In Australia, almost five million are disabled and it shows the large part of the community. As stated by Murfitt et al., (2018), when the employers do not consider the disabled persons as a candidate, the employers not only delivering the personal disservice, the business venture is missing the part of the creativity. Following table shows the clear picture of Australians’ disability:

Disability in the workplace actually means the mental or physical condition which may limit the person's sense, movements or activities (Wiesel & Bigby, 2015). Disability Employment Australia provides provision to find the employment results to the disabled people and this particular agency advice, inform, train and advocate the events of disabled people’s employment (Scott et al., 2017). As stated by Darcy, Taylor & Green (2016), if all the organisations in Australia can reduce the employment gap between those without the disability and Australians with a disability, Australia can increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by almost $43 billion in the next decade.

Barriers faced by people with disability during recruitment

Cisco Australia is an equal employment opportunity employer as it is consistent with applicable law and it provides opportunities and access to those with a disability. Cisco Australia provides reasonable accommodation to individuals with a disability and it provides access to the company to the online application to the system. Cisco Australia has made extensive accommodation to the disabled people by giving extensive efforts (, 2018). Cisco Australia made workplace modification and they arrange some special equipment. Cisco Australia also designs the job, hours and procedure in a way so that disabled people can work better. Cisco Australia also provides workplace education on the employees’ disability and the management does the performance appraisal as well.

Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) experienced maximum numbers of complaints from disabled people about disability discrimination. The following image will show the discrimination case logged with AHRC and disability discrimination act gathered the highest type of complaint (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018). Disability is observed differently by different people mostly based on socio-economic conditions. In the workplace of Australia, disabled people face issues of emotional, physical and economic challenges. The disabled people face discrimination in institution, family and in governmental level. The level of participation in the economic arena is less for disabled people. The disabled people get the job in the organisations; however, medical needs of the disabled people require special economic support. The disabled people have to afford assistive appliances like artificial limbs, hearing aids, wheelchairs and crutches. During the recruitment, the employers may think that disabled people may not be fit for the vacant positions. Therefore, disabled people face the unequal advantage in the recruitment process and sometimes, the recruiters' wrong perception about disability may lead to loss of employment of the disabled people (Ball et al., 2005).

Some of the office buildings do not have the facility where the disabled people can enter with wheelchairs and assistive services. The disabled people also suffer when they need to use public transport while visiting the offices for an interview. According to Crudden, Sansing & Butler (2005), the disabled people face issues when they sit for the interview as the offices do not have modification for the equipment as it makes the equipment expensive to employ disabled people. The recruiters have the perception that disabled people may claim discrimination if the employee does not work out. In the recruitment process, disabled people face the issue of psychological challenges as the fellow candidates can pass comments with remarks (Balser, 2000). The recruiters can also discriminate the disabled people by comparing the disabled people with others. The recruiters may use derogatory words in line with traditional beliefs.

Reasons behind Australian organisations abstain from hiring people with disability

Disabled people in Australia experience lack of availability of the jobs in Australia and lack of assistance in securing, finding and maintaining the employment. Australians with a disability also face difficulty in gaining education and employment skill training. As opined by Wen (2016), disabled people in Australia see the potential reduction of the Disability Support Pension as an outcome of the increased employment. As published in the article by Ameri et al., (2018), Australia is ranked 21st out of 29th in the OECD countries in employment rates for the persons with disability.

Figure 1: Discrimination cases by type lodged with AHRC by the act

(Source:, 2018)

Employers in Australia abstain from hiring the disabled people and the possible barrier of the employer includes the low level of awareness regarding the legal obligation in relation to the discrimination against disabled people ( ). Maximum employers in Australia do not have the idea regarding policy framework of disability laws in Australia. The employers do not want to take responsibility regarding difficulties in ensuring the access to flexibility for employees with disability. Moreover, the employers in Australia have the limited resources and if they have the small business, in particular, they do not want to provide the employment to the disabled people as they think that disabled people may have lack of skills to take the large responsibilities. As commented by Ashforth & Mael (1989), employers in Australia face difficulties in complying with the laws and regulations which are associated with the anti-discrimination, work, health, employment and health and safety along with insurance and workers compensation. If the employers have to manage the employment of the disabled people, then the employers have to follow the multiple laws and policy frameworks; therefore, it would be difficult for them to abide by all the laws of compensation and insurance. In addition, keeping disabled people within the organisation is meant that the employers have to face the difficulties associated with the compliance that monitors the reporting and requirements. Moreover, organisations in Australia experience the difficulties which are related to the monitoring and compliance and reporting the requirements (Ball et al., 2005). Finally, the organisations also experience in lack of knowledge regarding the support framework for the disabled employees; hence, the management does not want to provide employment to the disabled employees.

IBM, an American multinational has always been inclusive of the disability people since the time of 1914. IBM has taken various steps to ensure that the candidates with disability are well accommodated in the organisation. IBM’s recruitment plan can be simplified into three words: society, innovation and organisation (, 2018). IBM eliminated challenges from the recruitment process as the biggest challenge is to identify the candidates with a disability from the campuses, resume and employment agencies. IBM eliminates the biases and IBM creates sensitivity across the employment. Therefore, IBM sources and attracts the disabled people by ensuring all their channels and methods. IBM started the referral programmes as the source of disabled candidates and it helps to create the credibility with the referral candidates. IBM ensures that the interview process must provide reasonable and accessible accommodations with tests and assessments procedure (, 2018). The major focus is on the outcomes of the specific ways to perform the tasks. IBM hiring managers do not compromise with skills and each of the position has reasonable accommodations.

People with disabilities are taken as reliable employees and disabled employees have higher job retention in an international context. As published in the article of Wiesel & Bigby (2015), employees with vision loss and Veterans have the retention rate of almost 1.8 years. In addition, employees with disabilities are cautious and they are less likely to get in touch with work-related issues and accidents. The employees with disabilities are conscientious and aware of style in the workplace and disabled people are associated with different types of jobs like operational, clerical, managerial and labour. Moreover, the organisations that hire employees with disabilities may receive extra incentives and tax credits. Some of the eligible businesses can get the tax credits if the organisations accommodate the workers with disabilities. Additionally, employees with disabilities may increase diversity in the workplace as the organisation will have different types of employees who belong to different social strata (Murfitt et al., 2018). The employees with no-disability may get to know about disability when the disabled people will work together. The disabled people can teach their co-workers about the problem-solving and creativity about different work process. Finally, disabled people are as capable as the other employees and this inclusion will help to hire more disabled employees. Before the hiring process, the recruiters need to get training on diversity and inclusion so that they must be aware of the importance of disability. As stated by Blank et al., (2018), equal opportunities in the workplace are one of the key aspects of the disability equal policies. When the organisations recruit the disabled people; the organisations get more productivity and less fluctuation. The disabled people provide more profit through the creative thinking process.

The social model of disability is the reaction towards dominant medical disability which is a functional analysis of the body as a machine to be fixed to conform to normative values (Owens, 2015). The social model of disability recognises the systematic barriers, exclusion from society and negative attitudes which mean the society is the main factor in disabling people. Physical, intellectual, sensory and psychological variations cause the functional impairments which do not have to lead to disability. The social model of disability is associated with the attitudes which set positive attitudes towards mental behaviour and social support to help so that people can deal with barriers. The employers in Australia must understand the fact that people are disabled by created barriers in society; however, disabled people are not isolated by their impairment or difference. The organisations in Australia create barriers by people's different attitude and perspective on disabled people. Social model assists to recognise barriers which make life difficult for people with disability in the workplace (Morris et al., 2014). Therefore, the employers in Australia can remove barriers to create offers and equality for the disabled people more controlled, independent and it will make the workplace inclusive and diversity. 

The economic model of disability is the extended concept of social disability and disability within the society would not exist if the barriers of the society really exist. Physical disability is one such set in the total capability set of human beings. The economic model of disability defines by an individual's inability to be associated in work (Owens, 2015). The disabled people face demand issues, economic integration, product development and innovation in design and function. The economic model of disability is also associated with the universal design and culture within the workplace. In the Australian workplaces, the management assesses the degree to which the disability and impairment can affect the people’s economic consequences and productivity. Consequences of disability are included loss of earnings for and they provide payment for assistance. Consequences of people’s disability in the workplace can lead to state welfare payments and lower profit for the employers.

As stated by Iwanga et al., (2018), the demand side of employment factors may influence the retention and hiring of people with physical disabilities. The organisation may intervene at the senior level to focus on changing companies’ policies to include disability as part of the organisational diversity efforts. Development of policy which may foster the competitiveness of the organisation is the efficient supply of the disability services and supports the achievement of the goals. In the workplace of Australia, the low employment problem can be attributed to the over-reliance of traditional supply-side with rehabilitation approach of assisting disabled people to secure the employment. Rehabilitation approach in employment is related to the skills, characteristics and abilities (Iwanaga et al., 2018). The employers of the Australian organisations can focus on changing policies so that they can include disability as part of the organisational diversity efforts.

When the organisation needs to employ people, the organisation has the main priority to recruit the right person in the suitable place. The employers in Australia tend to abstain from recruiting people with disability (Morris et al., 2014). If the employers recruit people with disability; then it would be easier for the management to provide positive effects on productivity and team morale.

Figure 2: Discrimination by disability types in the Australian workplace

(Source:, 2018)

In Australia, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) is always committed to ensuring the perfect inclusive workplace which enables the disabled people to participate in the employment of Australia. This particular policy gives a framework to increase the recruitment and retention of disabled people in Australia (, 2018). On-the-job training and support for disabled employees will be provided by the government along with helping with access to financial support and incentives (Dag & Kullberg, 2017). Inclusion in the workplace is related to the belonging and connection, influence, group dynamics, value and respect and societal dynamics. As pointed out by De Aquino & Robertson (2017), creating an inclusive workplace for people with disability is rudimentary to increase diversity and creating workplace successful firms in today’s global environment.

The employers submit vacancy which must have a list of disability works and it includes a positive statement in position advertisement. The employers need to include the positive statement on the advertisement of the position to encourage the disabled candidates and these positive statements can be equal opportunity and reasonable adjustment availability (Ball et al., 2015). Employers in Australia cannot impose a rigid requirement for the position which may exclude the suitable candidates and employers cannot discriminate the disabled people. Position description only depicts the inherent requirements only. The disabled people will be called for the interviews and they will have access to the disability awareness resources.  The employers draft the interview questions which are non-discriminatory and the employers provide consideration for reasonable adjustment like alteration of duties and purchasing assistive technologies. FaHCSIA aims to remove the barriers for the disabled people during the interview stage by providing staffs who can arrange the interviews. The employers need to provide the selection panels explaining the reasonable adjustment of the principle (, 2018).

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 has been passed by the Australia Parliament which prohibits disability discrimination against persons with disabilities in the education, employment, publicly available premises, clubs, accommodation and associations. All states in Australia except Northern Territory and Tasmania had their anti-discriminatory acts of their own. Federal laws in Australia state that state that discriminatory case provides significance in the scope of rights offered in Australia. This law implements the Australian Government's obligation towards international declaration on the rights of disabled people. In addition, this particular law enables regulation in discriminatory practices of Commonwealth authorities (, 2018). The objective of the law is to eliminate the discrimination against the disabled persons in the area of existing laws, work, and accommodation.

In Australia, state laws and national laws cover equal employment opportunity along with anti-discrimination in the workplace. The employers need to develop the productivity and enhance the efficiency by putting the anti-harassment and anti-discrimination (Grover & Piggott, 2015). Equal employment opportunity leads to providing the advantage of diversity in the workplace.

Discrimination must not be done based on race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability and pregnancy and religion. Fair Work Act 2009 ensures that employees can follow their political opinion, social origin and national extraction.

Council of Australian Government in 2009 introduced the National Disability Agreement and it is a high level of agreement between state and territory government and Australian government for the provision of disability services for the disabled people. National Disability Agreement sets clear responsibilities for all levels of government and it joins these efforts together (, 2018). This agreement provides income support to the disabled people by the Australian government. In Australia, the Government provides help to the disabled people by starting the National Mental Health Action Plan and the document states about the whole of government's approach regarding the reform area. Australian Disability Enterprises supports the commercial companies which provide the employment for the disability and people. Job Access is another advisory service which provides ideas and facts about the employment of the people with disability to persons. Australian Government started the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2013 and this scheme supports the disabled people to participate in employment (, 2018).


It has been noted that despite the enhancement in the prevalence of disability in the local community, however, the employment participation has observed persistent over time. In this tight labour market, employers in Australia increasingly understand that the employers need to recruit from a more diverse talent pool to meet the workforce needs. However, it is also noted that issues of recruitment and retention with a disability have become even more critical. Therefore, the employers in Australia need to go far and take certain initiatives to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive for disabled people. Employing disabled people attracts new skills and they can bring a valuable perspective in the workplace. The government body and the agencies should ensure that the disabled people must have the rights to be upheld, promoted and protected with all organisations as the organisations are diverse and inclusive. The employers in Australia should improve health care, education and employment policy of the disabled people so that the disabled people can participate in employment and in all areas of Australian life. 

Reference List

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