10 most common disabilities affecting job seekers in 2019

Published on 03 Dec 2019

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More job seekers have qualified for Disability Employment Services with a mental health condition, than any other type of injury, illness or disability in 2019. 

The high proportion of job seekers with a mental health condition who are eligible for the program, highlights some of the common misconceptions about Australians living with disability.

Across the country one in five people live with a disability - that’s more than 4.4 million people.

And despite common misconceptions most people with disability don’t have a wheelchair.

In fact, figures show only 4.4% of Australians with disability use a wheelchair.

So far this year, more than 50,000 job seekers with disability have registered with APM, Australia’s largest provider of the program, for help in finding lasting employment.

Depression was the most common disability with more than 6,000 job seekers qualifying for Disability Employment Services with the mental health condition.

Half of these people are unemployed and the Disability Employment Services program helps job seekers overcome barriers to employment from injury, illness or disability and find a job.

The second most common disability was spinal disorders, with more than 5,500 eligible job seekers living with the physical health condition registered with APM.

Another mental health condition was also the third most common type of disability, with more than 3,000 job seekers receiving support from APM due to anxiety.

Read the testimonials from some of our Disability Employment Services participants

Supporting International Day of People With Disability

The data has been revealed by APM ahead of International Day of People with Disability to shine a light on the variety of health conditions and disabilities job seekers in Australia manage while looking for work.

To be eligible, job seekers are assessed through Centrelink to determine their suitability for the government program, which is delivered by APM from more than 500 national locations.

APM Group Chief Executive Officer Michael Anghie said the figures also help reduce misconceptions of people with disability.

“So far this year we have had more people register for the Disability Employment Services program with depression than any other health condition,” Mr Anghie said.

“Disability is more common than many of us realise. It’s likely most employers already have team members with a disability without knowing it,” he said.

“Being a diverse company and more inclusive of people with disability doesn’t mean you need workplace modifications for every type of physical disability.

“APM assists businesses to make a difference by better understanding the nature of disabilities and look at how they’re supporting existing and new members of staff.

“This could mean jobs in flexible environments or having the right support available to assist the person with disability to overcome the impact of unemployment in the early days and weeks of their new job.”

If you’re living with an injury, illness or disability and want to work, contact us to find out more about our support services. Call 1800 276 276 or register with APM Employment Services today.

10 most common health conditions and disabilities

The 10 most common health conditions and disabilities impacting the lives of eligible job seekers registered with APM Employment Services in 2019:

  Eligible injury, illness or disability Number of job seekers registered with APM for
Disability Employment Services in 2019
Depression 6,231
Spinal disorder 5522
Anxiety 3,,054
Musculo-skeletal disorder 2,120
Lower limb deficiencies 2,096
Shoulder and upper arm disorder 1,826
Osteoarthritis 1,550
Intellectual disability 1,300
Bi-polar disorder 1,087
Schizophrenia 960

Note: Figures correct up to 30 November 2019. This list provides insights into the most common disabilities active job seekers face when searching for work. It is not intended as a comprehensive account of disability types or health conditions across Australia.