Business benefits of hiring people with disability

Is disability a business issue? Absolutely.

Employees and customers with disability represent a substantial opportunity to business. In fact, more than four million Australians, that’s one in five people, experience disability.[1]

Making sure your organisation can welcome people with disability in an accessible and inclusive way, is not just the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense too.

Here’s why:

  • Attract and retain talent

When organisations make their recruitment processes and workplaces barrier-free to people with disability, they ensure that all potential employees with the relevant skills, qualifications and experience can be hired and do their best work. Diversity attracts and retains from the widest possible talent pool and employees in inclusive workplaces are likely to be more engaged, motivated and productive. Employees will also stay with your business for longer.

  •  Build reputation and brand

Numerous studies[2] have shown employees and customers are more loyal to organisations that demonstrate they value diversity and inclusion and that their workforce reflects the community as a whole. Increasingly evidence of inclusion is being taken into consideration when awarding contracts and tenders.

  •  Improve marketing and customer retention

Having employees with disability can help you to understand what your customers or clients with disability may need, and give you an edge over your competitors. In addition, a workforce that reflects the diversity of the wider community is likely to lead to greater customer loyalty and satisfaction[3].

  •  Mitigate risk

Research on workers with disability[4] show they often have lower absenteeism and employee turnover and low incidence of workplace injury, which all help to create cost effective businesses.  Organisations who have built capability for inclusion will also minimise risk of injury, complaint or breach of discrimination law.

  • Uphold Rights

Visibly and actively recognise and uphold the rights of people with disability.

If you are worried about increased costs associated with employing people with disability, you don’t need to be. Evidence shows[5] that employing people with disability does not cost any more than employing people without disability. In addition, the Australian Government provides funding, for eligible persons, through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) that is designed to cover the costs of making workplace changes. This can include buying equipment and accessing services for people with disability. Visit www.jobaccess.gov.au  for more information.

Overall, building an inclusive, diverse workforce benefits everyone – your employees, your organisation and your community as a whole.

If you’d like to make your business more accessible and inclusive the Australian Network on Disability (AND) can help you reach your goals. Why not contact us today.



[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016, 4430.0 - Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015, viewed 24 February 2017.

[2] Employer of Choice Study, 2014 by Instinct and Reason for Heads Up campaign. AND surveys of members and case studies.

[3] 'Missing out: The business case for customer diversity' 2017, Australian Human Rights Commission, viewed 15 March 2017.

[4] Australian Safety and Compensation Council, 2007, Are People with Disability at Risk at Work? A Review of the Evidence, ASCC, Canberra, Du Paul University 2007 and Graffam J, Shinkfield A, Smith K and Polzin, U 2002, Employer benefits and costs of employing a person with a disability, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 17, no. 4, p. 251-263.

[5] Graffam,J., Shinkfield, A., Smith,K., & Polzin, U. (1998). Making it work; Employer outcomes when employing a person with a disability. Melbourne; Institute of Disability Studies, Deakin University.