An innovative online job-matching platform that aims to link jobseekers with disability and progressive employers has been launched by Disability Services Minister Hon. Don Punch MLA.
Delivered by National Disability Services and WA technology company Studium, with funding from Lotterywest, Disability Jobs Connect will help jobseekers with disability overcome hurdles encountered on the path to employment.
NDS State Manager WA Coralie Flatters said the platform would address the significant under-representation in employment of people with disability in WA. Almost 500 employers have already signed up to the platform.
“Disability Jobs Connect is an innovative solution to a significant problem; finding employers who are eager to recruit diversely,” Ms Flatters said.
“It will enable jobseekers to directly connect with progressive employers, eliminating many of the barriers to employment experienced by people with disability and hopefully smoothing the path to a meaningful and sustainable job.”
The platform was customised in co-design with Disability Employment Services (DES) providers and jobseekers including Anneka Bodt, 21, who said the barriers to employment included stigma, discrimination, poor workplace accessibility measures and low expectations.
Anneka has proximal femoral focal deficiency, which means she uses a prosthetic leg, crutch and occasionally a wheelchair for mobility. She has also bipolar disorder.
“My employment pathway has very much been informed by my disability,” she said. “I think people judge me on my physical disability because that’s more obvious, but I’m also someone with bipolar disorder and that affects me 10 times more than my physical disability.”
Anneka described her time jobhunting as intimidating and disheartening. Before landing her current role at Youth Disability Advocacy Network as a marketing officer, she was overlooked for several jobs due to a lack of disability awareness by employers.
Disability Jobs Connect allows jobseekers to create a profile that showcases their skills, values and interests. Employers can also create profiles and define what sort of skills and values they need. Jobseekers and employers can then search and filter profiles and send connection requests. If the interest is mutual, an interview can be arranged.
Importantly, it gives jobseekers control over how much information regarding their disability and access requirements they wish to disclose.
“I think for disabled people, just knowing that there are employers who actively want to hire disabled people can massively change their mindset and help them think they’re going to succeed,” Anneka said.
Statistics: (source: Australian Network on Disability)
- More than 4.4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That’s one in five people.
- 2.1 million Australians of working age (15-64 years) have disability.
- People with disability have both lower employment participation (53.4 per cent) and higher unemployment rates (10 per cent) than people without disability.
- The median weekly income for people with disability is $465, compared to $950 for the general population.
- Graduates with disability take 61.5 per cent longer to gain employment than other graduates.
- 18.9 per cent of people with disability aged 15-24 years experienced discrimination. In almost half of those instances, the source was an employer.