What 'ticking the box' means for job seekers with disability

A hand hovering over a checklist with 3 boxes ticked and one with a question mark in it

Employees with disability and businesses share their thoughts on 'ticking the box'

Job seekers with disability often face several barriers when it comes to gaining employment.

This means job seekers may be expected to declare their disability during the application process, before they have the chance to meet an employer face-to-face or make a first impression.

In Australia, there is no legal obligation for job seekers with disability to disclose unless their injury, illness or disability is likely to affect:

  • their ability to meet the inherent requirements of the job
  • their ability to work safely
  • the safety of co-workers

As of 2018, there were approximately 2.1 million Australians living with disability who were of working age (15-64 years).

The rate of unemployment for this demographic was 10.3% - that's double the rate of unemployment for people without disability.

When many people with disability apply for jobs and choose to 'tick the box', they feel it diminishes their chance of progressing through the next stage of a recruitment process.

Raising the argument that millions of work-ready job seekers risk being denied an equal opportunity to access employment.

In many cases, the adjustments required to accommodate an employee with a disability are reasonable and within the reach of many organisations (even if they don't always know it).

Recently, job seekers shared their experiences with finding work and whether to disclosing their disability, with the ABC.

Paralympic silver medal winner Leanne Del Toso described how being hired for her skill set rather than her disability made her feel empowered.

But in the past, she said ticking that box "made her feel insignificant as a human being" and her disability became "the highlight of who I am".

"I am not ashamed of being a disabled woman, in fact I am very proud," she said.

Read more about what Ms Del Toso said via the ABC website