Disability Confidence Survey – Attitudes Don’t Translate to Action
3 December 2015 at 10:26 am
One in five Australian employers don’t know if any of their staff have a disability or not, and the same number don’t think they have customers with a disability, according to an Australian first survey.
Australian Network on Disability (AND), together with government and industry partners, launched the inaugural Australian Disability Confidence Survey as part of the International Day of People with Disability.
The survey is the first national view of how small to medium enterprises (SMEs) rate their awareness and inclusion of people with disability as both employees and customers.
CEO of AND, Suzanne Colbert, said the survey of 500 Australian SMEs across all industries found that 89 per cent have a positive attitude to employing suitably skilled people with disability.
However it also found there was a lack of understanding and action, which could be costly for businesses and mean that people with disability are missing out on access to jobs, products and services.
“The overwhelmingly positive attitude to both employees and customers with disability is extremely heartening but more action is needed,” Colbert said.
“With more than four million Australians having a disability this is an important segment for businesses seeking to reach as many customers as possible, as well as those who want to recruit from the entire talent pool and ensure their employees reflect their customers.”
The report found that a positive attitude did not always translate to action.
“The lost dollar impact of inaction in Australia is significant. Many businesses may be missing out on an important market segment that represents over four million Australians and their families,” the report said.
“While one in five don’t think they have customers with disability some 60 per cent of (employers) have not proactively sought to find out if any of their customers have disability.”
Colbert said that the cost of ignoring the needs of people with disability can be very high.
“In the UK, studies have shown that as many as 83 per cent of customers with disability had walked away from inaccessible services. There is also a risk that companies may not be fulfilling their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act,” the report said.
Colbert also said AND is developing an Australian Access and Inclusion Index, available in 2016, which will include a set of online tools and resources that will assist businesses and community organisations to assess and build their disability confidence.
The report also found that 62 per cent of all respondents said they are likely to make changes in the next year to make it easier for customers with disability to do business with them.
Seventy-three per cent of Education and Training organisations, 71 per cent of Hospitality organisations and 65 per cent of Healthcare organisations said they had done something specific to assist one or more customers with disability in the last year.
Overall 62 per cent of respondents said they are likely to make changes in the next year to make it easier for customers with disability to do business with them.
Download the report at here.