Disability Confidence Survey Report 2017

The hope of the NDIS is for people with disability to live ‘ordinary lives’.  An ordinary life means doing what we want to do, going to the places we want to go – being a customer and having a job.

But, despite customers being more empowered than ever, there has been no change in Small and Medium Enterprises' (SME) ability to be accessible and inclusive of people with disability in the last two years. 

This is the disappointing finding that has been revealed in the Australian Network on Disability (AND)’s 2017 Disability Confidence Survey.

The key findings and full version of the report are detailed below.

Key findings

Key findings, explanatory text belowCustomers with disability

  1. 67% of our participants believe their customer base includes people with disability. This shows no change from 2016.
  2. 57%, or more than half of these, see customers with disability as being important to their organisation. “All customers are important…and everyone should be treated the same.”
  3. 62% of our participants have not done anything in the past 12 months to make it easier for customers with disability. For almost half of these, there is a perception of not being asked to. “We have received no specific requests.”
  4. 22% or less than one quarter of our participants plan to do something in the next 12 months. Physical access to premises, support and technology are the key areas of focus.

Employees with disability

  1. 41% of our participants see the inclusion of job applicants with disability as important to their business. This is 16% less than when it comes to their customers. Worryingly, many businesses see job applicants with disability as “not appropriate for our work.”
  2. 30% of our participants are aware they employ people with disability, compared to 48% that don’t and a further 22% are unsure.
  3. 66% of those that do employ people with disability have experienced clear benefits including strengthening workplace morale, improved skills set, greater customer satisfaction and improved productivity.
  4.  58%, or more than half of survey participants see their attitude to employing skilled people with disability as positive. 

Disability Confidence Survey - full report

Disability Confidence Survey Report 2017 (PDF, 2MB)

Disability Confidence Survey Report 2017 (Word Doc, 380KB)


The research was undertaken by Antenna Strategic Insights, with 2016 and 2017 waves weighted to business size using the ABS ‘Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2012 to Jun 2016’.  The research was based on a survey of 533 SMEs employing between 5 and 250 employees, across a range of industries in all states and territories. The survey spoke to both managers and staff.