Supporting people with disability at work

Published on 03 Dec 2022

Intersecting scrabble tiles spell the words equity, diversity and inclusion

Thousands of job seekers every year encounter difficulties and barrier to finding work.

Australia's rate of employment for people living with injury, illness or disability remains stubbornly low.

When it comes to the employment process, more can be done to make the on-boarding process more inclusive, and workplaces more welcoming.

Through the Disability Employment Services program, APM Employment Services are able to provide support to job seekers and employers.

Findings from the recent APM Disability Diversity and Inclusivity Index of Australian Workplaces 2023, show mixed results when it comes to employer attitudes and how confident job seekers feel disclosing their disability.

Read more from Pro bono Australia below.

Injury, illness or disability and want to work?

You could be eligible for help in finding a suitable job from APM Employment Services like thousands of job seekers have.

Register with us today, or call our team on 1800 276 276 for more information.

Looking for staff?

We don’t just support job seekers, we also help thousands of employers find reliable staff and access government incentives when hiring new employees.

If you’re an employer, you could access wage subsidies, plus funds for training and workplace modifications when hiring a person with disability for full or part-time work.

Visit your nearest APM Employment Services team, or email

Published in Pro bono Australia

Creating an inclusive workplace will significantly benefit the one in six Australians living with disability, but barriers still exist.

The process of starting a new job is commonly seen as one of the most stressful experiences a person can have – and it’s easy to see why.

There’s applying for a new role, updating your resume, preparing for interviews, and selling yourself to your potential future employer.

There’s quitting your old job, letting your boss down and arranging everything you can for your replacement.

Finally, there’s actually beginning the position, learning the ropes, finding your work tribe and figuring out the best way to get on with your new boss.

It’s tiring, to say the least.

But for those in our community who live with disability, there are added challenges. The Australian workforce carries significant barriers to inclusion for people with disability, from physical access to workplace culture, with many facing high levels of prejudice, particularly those with non-visible disabilities.

According to the recent APM Disability Diversity and Inclusivity Index of Australian Workplaces 2023, 58 per cent of Australian workers with disability often feel anxious about disclosing their disability to their employer.

A further 39 per cent say they perform poorly at work due to hiding their disability, and 30 per cent have experienced negative consequences post-disclosure or when requesting support in the workplace.

These figures are even more alarming when coupled with the reported views of Australian employers. Over half of employers (51 per cent) believe that some workers pretend to have non-visible disabilities to receive extra benefits; 65 per cent want proof of diagnosis before providing support; and 31 per cent don’t think non-visible disabilities are real disabilities.

Building a supportive workplace is critical. Not only does it champion the one in six Australians that live with disability, it opens up the field for employers looking for workers in a particularly tough labour market.

But it’s one thing to say a workplace is inclusive – employers need to visibly demonstrate this commitment. Luckily, there are lots of ways to do this, including:

  • Regularly consulting employers with lived experience of disability to understand their needs.
  • Providing disability-focused staff training throughout the year and for new starters.
  • Ensuring information about disabilities can be easily accessed, for example, by placing appropriate links on the staff intranet.
  • Embedding inclusive practices throughout the recruitment process, such as allowing a support person to attend an interview.
  • Equipping managers and recruiters with knowledge about available wage subsidies for workers with disabilities.
  • Having strict anti-discrimination, attraction and retention, and diversity policies in place.
  • Conducting a physical audit of the workplace to confirm it meets accessibility needs.
  • Visibly commemorating key annual awareness dates, such as International Day of People with Disability.
  • Creating a diversity and inclusion club for staff with and without disabilities, to plan celebratory events, educational activities and raise awareness throughout the workplace.
  • Actively offering support to staff with disabilities, such as through an EAP service.
  • Having a flexible approach to work hours and location to accommodate the varying needs of people with disabilities.
  • Visibly demonstrating commitment to supporting people with disabilities with an organisational statement.