Let’s talk statistics!


I know! Your eyes are starting to glaze over already but wait; this might be interesting.

Did you know that in Australia (pre-Covid-19), the labour force participation for people with a disability has remained stable since 2015, in contrast to an increase in the participation rate for people without a disability? In 2018, 2.1 million people with a disability living in households were of working age (15-64 years). Of these:

  • over half (53.4%) were in the labour force, compared with 84.1% of those without disability
  • almost half (47.8%) were employed, compared with 80.3% of people without disability
  • 46.6% were not in the labour force, compared with 15.9% without disability.

The labour force participation declined with the severity of the limitation due to their disability:

  • 59.3% of those with a mild limitation
  • 45.6% of those with a moderate limitation
  • 27.2% of those with a profound or severe limitation

People with a disability may experience employment restrictions because of their disability (such as restrictions around the type of job or number of hours they can work or a need for special equipment). In 2018, the following groups with a disability had an employment restriction:

  • almost half (47.8%) of those working full-time
  • two-thirds (64.5%) of those working part-time
  • nearly three-quarters (73.7%) of those who were unemployed

The majority of those not in the labour force (771,300 or 80.5%), 515,200 were permanently unable to work.

In July 2020, people with disability were more likely to be employed as labourers than people without disability (12.3% or 120,900 people compared with 8.8% or 991,300 people) and less likely to be working as managers (10.8% or 106,300 people compared with 12.5% or 1.4 million people).

More people with a disability were employed in the government sector over the private sector, compared with people without a disability (17.7% or 174,000 people compared with 15.8% or 1.8 million people).

*Data above stated in this article has been taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics report “Disability, Ageing, Carers: Summary of Findings, released 24/10/2019.

So what does this all mean?

As a society, we haven’t been able to increase the participation in employment for people with a disability since 2015, even with a focused amount of government funding. It’s now 2022.

It seems reasonable to think that the more profound the disability there would be an increase in limitations toward employment. So these statistics seem to follow that reasoning.

Interestingly, most people with a disability were employed as labourers and less likely to work in management roles. Why would that be? Are we, as a society, trying to fill gaps in the labour force market rather than excel people’s skill base toward higher-paying jobs? Is education an issue?

The government sector has shown higher levels of participation in employing people with a disability than the private. Would this be because there is more access to support and job roles than the private sector? What does the private sector need to employ more people with a disability? Is it partly education, or is it more of a financial decision? All questions to ponder over.

What does the future hold?

The National Skills Commission’s five-year employment projections show these four service industries will become the top four industries for almost two-thirds of employment growth. They are: health care and social assistance; accommodation and food services; professional, scientific and technical services; and education and training. Predicted is also community and personal service workers.

*Read more on this information in the State of Australia’s Skills 2021 report.

How can EmployCare help?

EmployCare can assist a person with a disability by offering employment counselling with qualified career practitioners to support them with their employment goals. Employment support won’t be the same for everybody, and that is why EmployCare offers 1:1 employment counselling and development training. This support includes working with the clients’ current employer and any potential new employer, so they are more likely to find and keep their job.

Contact us for a chat.

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