Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, today announced the findings of a new research report to understand and uncover relevant enablers and initiatives for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that will make it easier to employ a person with disability.
The report, Making it Easier for Small Business to employ people with disability, was prepared by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. The report was identified as a priority project by the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council’s Employment Reform Working Group.
Ms Henderson said the new report would help Government understand the needs of small business and begin to address the significant under-representation of people with disability in the Australian workforce.
“The report suggests half of the businesses surveyed were open to employing a person with a disability in the future.
“Lack of applications was the main reason for not having employed a person with disability, noting the normal channels used by small business to fill vacancies was word of mouth, social media and online platforms.
“This research suggests that there is an opportunity for SME specific recruitment and employment processes as well as on-the-job training and workplace preparedness,” Ms Henderson said.
Other recommendations in the report include the need for government to develop new SME specific resources, through co-design with small business, which demystifies disability, contains information on disability types and possible workplace adjustments as well as legal and compliance matters.
The recommendations in the report are similar to activities already being undertaken by the Government for larger organisations, through the Employ their Ability campaign.
This awareness-raising campaign aims to highlight the benefits of employing people with disability, through real-life case studies. It encourages employers to consider employing a person with disability when hiring and directs them to the JobAccess website to access information and support services to assist them.
JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers. The JobAccess website contains information and resources on all aspects of disability employment, such as financial support, workplace modifications, help with finding and changing jobs, creating flexible work environments, connecting with employers and more.
“The report is the first step into understanding the specific needs of SMEs in delivering positive employment outcomes for people with disability,” Ms Henderson said.