Australians with disability among the most discriminated at work

Media releases

As the world prepares to mark the International Day of People with Disability, some sobering statistics highlight the state of affairs for many organisations in Australia.

Data from the DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index showed that across many industries those with disability are among the most discriminated in Australian workplaces, second only to First Nations Peoples. 

The findings revealed that 34% of people with disability had personally experienced at least one incident of harassment and/or discrimination in the past 12 months, compared to only 21% of people without a disability.

These numbers prove that not only are people with disability experiencing lower workplace participation and higher unemployment; those who are in work suffer from exclusionary behaviour, such as experiencing and witnessing harassment and/or discrimination.

Diversity Council Australia’s CEO, Lisa Annese, said Australia needs change, and she highlighted the benefits that would come with this. 

“The story emerging from this data is not acceptable. On the International Day of People with Disability – and indeed beyond – I’m calling for change to a mindset that is clearly harming Australian workplaces and participants who navigate it with some form of disability – whether visible or not. 

“When we strive for change, the Inclusion@Work Index shows that inclusion of people with disability is good for business. When we looked at the experiences of people with disability in inclusive teams compared to those in non-inclusive teams, we found effectiveness almost 30 times greater. Discretionary effort was two and a half times that of non-inclusive teams, and customer service was six times higher. They were six times less likely to experience harassment and/or discrimination in the past year.

“This is inclusive leadership in action, and it is a benchmark for the whole country to aspire to,” said Lisa.

The International Day of People with Disability is a United Nations-sanctioned day that is recognised around the world. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Please contact DCA for a copy of the full Inclusion@Work Index report via Diane Falzon on 0430 596 699, or Catherine Petterson, on 0419 447 331.

Download the full media release including graphs.

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