Business Showing Confidence in Disability – Report
11 January 2016 at 10:25 am
One in three small to medium businesses have employed a person with a disability and 89 per cent believe their organisation has a positive attitude to people with disability in the workplace, a new report has found.
The first national view of how small to medium enterprises (SMEs) rate their awareness and inclusion of people with disability, the Disability Confidence Survey, was released by the Australian Network on Disability (AND).
CEO of AND, Suzanne Colbert, said a majority of SMEs had a positive attitude towards the employment of people with disability.
“Our survey of 500 Australian SMEs across all industries found that 89 per cent have a positive attitude to employing suitably skilled people with disability and 80 per cent recognise they have customers with disability,” Colbert said.
“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.
“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.”
Colbert said that the cost of ignoring the needs of people with disability could 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 1992 (DDA),” she said.
Deputy Secretary of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Jim Longley, welcomed the findings of the report.
“Creating an industry benchmark to prompt and encourage companies to support access and inclusion of people with disability in Australia is a key imperative for our society,” Longley said.
Colbert said AND was also developing an Australian Access and Inclusion Index, which would be available this year.
She said this would include a set of online tools and resources that would assist businesses and community organisations to assess and build their disability confidence.
“As we embark on this national benchmarking journey, we want organisations to be able to measure their performance in relation to others across and within sectors,” she said.
“By self-auditing we believe that Australian businesses will become more disability confident, which in turn will help create a society that is more inclusive of people with disability.”
Organisations can take the disability confidence quiz to see how they rank compared to the survey results.