Report reveals employer-first approach is key to disability employment

Supporting employer engagement is a critical first step to improving labour force participation rates for people with disability, according to a new report released today by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and the Australian Network on Disability (AND).

The early learnings report highlights findings from the High Growth Jobs Talented Candidates (HGJTC) project, a demand-led brokerage model which is being delivered by AND in partnership with SVA as part of the NSW Government’s Employment Enablement Strategy.

In order to drive the recruitment and retention of jobseekers with disability, experience on the project to date confirms the importance of shifting the mindset of employers and supporting systemic change.

A key element of the HGJTC initiative is the time invested upfront to build an employer’s disability confidence and understand the roles that exist within that employer before selecting and training potential candidates for those jobs.

Via expert training from AND, participating employers have increased their awareness of the diversity, skill level and talent of people with disability and updated their processes to be more accessible and inclusive.

Without the support from external organisations, this wouldn’t be effective in our company. It takes effort for a company to pull together a program themselves – while we might have employed people with disability in the past, there needs to be a program to ensure scale and sustainability, and it’s hard for businesses to find resources to develop and deliver this themselves.’

Knowledge Employer

As the report highlights, employment service providers, such as the Government’s Disability Employment Service (DES), are not currently funded to provide this support, nor do they have the expertise.

The report comes at an important time for the sector, as the Department of Social Services is reviewing the DES Framework.

Since its inception in July 2015, HGJTC has been working with eight high-profile businesses that currently employ around 57,000 staff nationally. In addition, five employment service providers have been selected to support the program by sourcing suitable candidates. Feedback from all sides has been overwhelmingly positive and to date 15 people with disability have secured and remain in jobs.

The HGJTC project builds on SVA’s work with demand-led employment programs such as the Industry Employment Initiative and gives further credence to the value of that approach.

SVA will conduct a final evaluation of the program between June and September 2017 with the aim of extending the model more broadly.

Read the report:

High Growth Jobs Talented Candidates Early Learnings Report [PDF, 1MB]

High Growth Jobs Talented Candidates Early Learnings Report [Word, 332KB]