Why hiring people with autism spectrum disorder can improve company morale

Posted 1 week ago by Georgie Waters
Researchers suggest that people living with disability are underemployed, and employers should be more aware of how people living with disability can be great additions to the workplace. [Source: Shutterstock]
Researchers suggest that people living with disability are underemployed, and employers should be more aware of how people living with disability can be great additions to the workplace. [Source: Shutterstock]

Why should companies hire people living with disability?

Key points

  • People of working age living with disability are much less likely to be in paid employment
  • New data from the NDIS highlights the benefit of its employment support for young people living with disability who leave school
  • The benefits of hiring people living with disability include their reliability, reduced staff turnover and increased workplace morale

People living with disability between the ages of 15 – 64 are ‘[…] twice as likely to be unemployed as those without disability,’ according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In one study, employers were asked why they’d be reluctant to hire someone living with disability, with 80 percent stating that they had concerns regarding possible work adjustments and the costs associated with these changes. 

These hesitancies are also noted in other studies, with researchers identifying that some employers believe that people living with disability are ‘not productive’ and that they lack understanding about disability. 

However, there are many benefits of hiring someone living with disability, including reliability because people living with disability are less likely to take sick days. They are also more likely to stay in the same job and with reduced staff turnover, organisations can save on the cost of rehiring and retraining. Employing people living with disability can also help build morale in staff members when a company has a more open mindset. 

Research has revealed the hidden benefits of hiring people with autism spectrum disorder, which is a disability listed in the Australian Government’s Guide to the List of Recognised Disabilities.

People with autism spectrum disorder, for example, are less likely to stay silent in the face of gross misconduct or even just everyday mistakes, indicating the potential benefits of hiring neurodivergent people

The NDIS has released the latest New School-leaver Provider quarterly report, that conveyed the numerous benefits of assisting NDIS participants after they leave school.

According to the data, the likelihood of getting paid employment was increased when participants were assisted in getting a job. 

Out of 6,553 participants receiving the NDIS employment support, over 5,000 participants continued to utilise this particular support option, according to data in the NDIS report from the last financial year.

However, the data indicates that when 1,548 participants ceased their NDIS employment supports, 30 percent gained open employment, five percent gained supported employment outcomes and 14 percent are now volunteering or engaging in further study. 

Almost 70 percent of these participants now engaged in paid work are employed in industries including trade, retail, tourism and manufacturing. 

With many of these roles being customer-facing, people with disability often can build good relationships with others and increase diversity in the workplace.

While the type of school-leaver employment support funded by NDIS can vary depending on a person’s individual needs, this type of assistance is given to ‘help participants with difficulties in learning, social interaction and self-management [in the] move from school to work.’

While many organisations understand the benefits of hiring people with disability, one premier wedding venue, Sages Cottage Farm, is making a big difference in employment opportunities for people living with disability.

Set on the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula, Sages Cottage Farm has merged with Melbourne Event Group to create employment opportunities for 100 people with disability on its 38-acre farm. Featuring a blooming rose garden, vegetable gardens, farm animals and a rustic cafe, Sages Cottage Garden is the perfect place to say, ‘I do,’ all the while supporting inclusivity with the help of Wallara, an organisation created to assist people with disability. 

To read more about the work at Sages Cottage Garden, visit this article about why inclusive workplaces are so important

A summary of the School-leaver Employment Supports report can be found online, with the full report available for download on the same webpage. 


Have you accessed NDIS employment support? How has this helped you?

Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. 

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