Most Australians find workplace adjustments difficult

Posted 4 months ago by David McManus
The United Nations Public Service Award and Essl Foundation’s Zero Project initiative have recognised JobAccess for improving the delivery of services and innovative policies, respectively. [Source: Shutterstock]
The United Nations Public Service Award and Essl Foundation’s Zero Project initiative have recognised JobAccess for improving the delivery of services and innovative policies, respectively. [Source: Shutterstock]

What do you wish your employer understood about your disability?

Key points:

  • 60 percent of Australians are unaware about adjustments
  • 40 percent estimate the cost of workplace adjustments to be significant
  • JobAccess stated that improving accessibility was crucial to ensuring the socio-economic participation of 4.4 million Australians with disability


JobAccess’ recent survey, titled ‘Understanding workplace attitudes toward people with disability,’ was released earlier today in the hope of gauging public awareness of disability and, more specifically, the understanding of workplace adjustments, such as flexible working hours or ramps.

JobAccess General Manager Daniel Valiente-Riedl said that workplace adjustments benefit everyone. According to Mr Valiente-Riedl, adjustments are one of the most effective ways to enable people with disability to access employment opportunities and work efficiently.

“This is a major challenge and missed opportunity for employers, seeing Australia’s disability employment gap has not changed in two decades and [an] ongoing skills shortage that the businesses are facing.”

The national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers found that only two in five people perceive workplace adjustments as something easy.

Additionally, 78 percent of survey respondents believe that making workplace adjustments for people with disability is the responsibility of employers. However, 72 percent of respondents are unsure or don’t know how to arrange workplace adjustments for an employee with disability.

“This is often due to low awareness about workplace adjustments, lack of confidence, and an incorrect perception that it may be difficult,” the general manager said.

“The good news is that JobAccess is here to support and fill this knowledge gap by providing guidance on matters ranging from workplace adjustments to building employer confidence and confidence — to drive disability employment for people with disability.

“It’s time that Australian businesses focus on creating safe and inclusive workplaces for employees with disability, where everyone is welcome to work.”

One key factor that the research revealed is the cost of implementing workplace adjustments. 40 percent of respondents estimate the cost to be significant with an average cost of modifications starting at $6,800.

“Making workplace adjustments is easy and comes at no cost. JobAccess internal research shows that most adjustments cost less than $1,000. Some changes, such as flexible working hours or arrangements, cost nothing and benefit all employees, not just people with disability.

“Modifications like assistive technology, disability awareness training for managers and staff, and specialised one-on-one support can be funded through the Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund.”

The report revealed that the path to bridging Australia’s disability gap is still sizable, as notably:

  • 53 percent of people with disability aged 15 – 64 are in the workforce, compared with 84 percent of people the same age without disability;
  • this participation rate has barely changed in 30 years;
  • young people with disability who do have jobs have better mental health.


If you are an employee looking to support your staff through workplace adjustments, please refer to the ‘How to make your workplace disability-friendly’ and ‘Disability Action Plans — why your organisation needs one’ guides.

If you are a prospective employee with disability, please refer to the ‘Looking for work online to help you achieve employment’ and ‘What career is right for you?’ guides.

Do you believe more can be done to bridge the employment gap? If so, what would that be? Let the team at Talking Disability know and subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter for more news, updates and information.


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