A recent Disability Support Guide article (https://www.disabilitysupportguide.com.au/talking-disability/unemployment-rates-released-but-not-for-people-with-disability) has highlighted the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ exclusion of unemployment rates of people with disability in their April Labour Force Participation figures (https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/apr-2022).
In spite of disability employment being a topic of discussion and (supposed) action, this statistical ostracism does little to make people with disability feel as though they are included in the conversation.
With unemployment and underemployment rates of people with disability much higher than national figures, national statistical collection on this topic has not been actioned by the ABS since 2018 with the release of their Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/disability-ageing-and-carers-australia-summary-findings/latest-release).
These findings revealed
an unemployment rate of people with disability of 10.3% and more than double the period’s comparative rate for people without disability which stood at 4.6%, and
that just 28.3% of people with disability of working age were in full-time employment – compared to 54.8% of people without disability in the same age group.
If statistical collection and analysis excludes 20% of Australia’s population (in that of our disabled citizens), how is it truly a measure of our country’s employment numbers and how does it not perpetuate feelings of exclusion and discrimination for our country’s largest minority group.
If the Australian Government is committed to ensuring “inclusive workplace cultures where people with disability thrive in their careers” (https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and-carers/disability-employment-strategy) through initiatives such as the Disability Employment Advisory Committee (DEAC) and Employment My Ability, surely there needs to be greater attention on the bigger and comprehensive picture so that all stakeholders can be better equipped and truly committed to bringing actual positive change!?