Answering questions about hiring someone with a disability

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Hiring someone with a disability for the first time can be daunting. At EPIC Assist (EPIC) we encounter many employers wanting to employ someone with a disability but are yet to make their first hire. We find that employers are holding back from hiring people with disability because they do not know where to start, are unsure of what to expect or have incorrect preconceived ideas about disability in the workforce.

This is where EPIC can help. We exist to help employers connect with loyal and hardworking job seekers with disability. We have answered six questions we are asked regularly by employers to combat misinformation and encourage businesses to make their first step in creating inclusive workplaces.

What is DES?

Disability Employment Services (DES) is an Australian Government initiative that helps people with a disability, injury, mental health condition, or a health condition find and maintain meaningful employment.

For businesses, Disability Employment Service providers break down the barriers surrounding hiring people with disability.

EPIC provides expert advice, training, support, and job-ready employees that will bring new, valuable perspectives and a competitive advantage to your business.

How do I find candidates with a disability?

Hiring someone with a disability isn’t as hard as you may think. There are many simple steps you can take to ensure people with disability are given an equal shot at landing a role in your company.

Accessible and accurate job listings

Ensure your job descriptions are clear, specific and focussed on what is essential for the role. Avoid using jargon and asking for personal qualities that aren’t easily demonstrated. When posting your job ad ensure it is accessible in a range of formats, such as in hard copy, audio, and large print. 

Emphasise a positive culture

The best way to attract candidates with a disability is to show why your workplace is a great place to work. A statement about being an inclusive workplace is a great start. However, emphasising flexible workplace arrangements and offering reasonable adjustments will show that your workplace is serious about inclusion.

Utilise support offered

Let EPIC do the hard work. We take time to understand the culture, values, and challenges of your business to ensure we match you with the right person.

What kind of disabilities do your job seekers have?

When employers hear the word disability their first thought is to think of someone in a wheelchair. In Australia, there are over 4.4 million people that have some form of disability. Only 4.4% of people with disability use a wheelchair.

At EPIC our job seekers have a range of disabilities that can affect their mental, sensory or mobility functions.

It is important to note that no two people with disability will experience their disability the same way. Everyone is an individual and will have their own specific experiences, skills and needs.

a young man dressed in all white pushes a large green laundry basket towards an open washing machine with white sheets spilling out
Josh who has Asperger’s is thriving in his role in the laundry department at Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas

What kind of jobs can someone with a disability do? 

People with disability can be doctors, paramedics, chefs, lawyers, carers, tradespeople, artists, and teachers. Disability does not define what work a person can or cannot do. People with disability should not be pigeonholed to certain roles because of their condition. Most of the barriers that people with disability face in the workplace can be easily broken down by simple adjustments or modifications. Like anyone, people with disability have a set of individual interests, skills, and goals that suit particular roles and industries.

a woman dressed in a blue paramedic uniform smiles leaning on a parked ambulance
Bec doesn’t let her mental health conditions stop her from working in her dream role as a paramedic

Will people with disability be able to do the job as well?

There is a misconception that people with disability cannot perform as well as people who do not have a disability. This is completely unfounded. In fact, research shows that people with disability have higher retention rates, lower absenteeism rates and lower incidence of workplace injury.

Businesses can also profit from many other benefits of hiring someone with a disability including utilising their unique perspectives and problem solving, improving reputation and workplace culture and expanding their customer base.

How is EPIC different from other DES providers?

Not all disability employment services are created equal, and it can be difficult to choose the best provider for you.

EPIC is a not-for-profit provider that has been helping employers and job seekers for over 30 years. We pride ourselves on our holistic and personal service. We take the time to understand your business’s needs to match you with the perfect job seeker. Once your employee is on the job, we’ll check in regularly to see how they’re progressing, and how you’re doing too. If the employee needs hands-on support to do their job, we’ll work alongside them every shift until they no longer need our help.

It is this ongoing support that sets us apart from other providers.

If you are looking to hire someone with a disability and need some extra guidance, contact EPIC today. We will be with you every step of the journey.

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