AFR: ‘Time for a seismic shift’: The big disability jobs push

Jul 13, 2022 | Media

Screenshot of AFR article

13 July 2022: ‘Time for a seismic shift’: The big disability jobs push.

Tom McIlroy, Political reporter


Major firms including Westpac and Allianz have urged employers facing staff shortages to recruit applicants with a disability, backing in a push by the Albanese government on lifting barriers to meaningful work.

Ahead of September’s jobs and skills summit, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth has been charged with driving cultural change among corporate bosses and peak industry groups, as 480,000 positions sit vacant nationally.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers this week announced expanding employment opportunities would be a focus of the jobs summit.

New research by disability employment organisation Jigsaw shows half of Australian managers and HR executives said they had never hired or worked with a person with disability, despite 2.1 million Australians with disability being of working age. Just 47.8 per cent of the cohort are employed.

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian businesses told researchers that job-ready applicants with disability could
help address labour shortages worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barriers existed for 65 per cent of employers, who said they were unsure how or where to access potential workers with a disability. Jigsaw found 91 per cent of businesses that have hired a person with disability using the federal government’s Disability Employment Services (DES) system faced challenges in hiring and retaining candidates.

“In a workforce as tight as we’re currently facing, it’s time for a seismic shift in how employers engage with the disability workforce, and how governments support them to do so,” chief executive Paul Brown said.


Read the rest of the article on the AFR website here (paywall) or click below to read a PDF.


Jigsaw commissioned YouGov to conduct market research with Australian managers and HR professionals to uncover their attitudes toward and perceived barriers surrounding employing people with disability. With a backdrop of a Disability Royal Commission and reform of existing Australia Government Disability Employment Services (DES), Jigsaw aims to raise awareness and uncover the barriers to achieving inclusivity of Australians with disability in the workforce. Click here to read a summary of the research. 




About Jigsaw

Jigsaw is a social enterprise that provides an innovative pathway to open employment for people with disability. By embedding a comprehensive skill-based training program within our commercial document and data management business, Jigsaw enables people with disability to achieve their employment goals at their own pace. Jigsaw’s holistic approach starts from the very basics of core work skills and supports trainees all the way through to transition to open employment with ongoing support and coaching once they have transitioned.

Jigsaw is located in Sydney, MelbourneBrisbane and Adelaide, with Canberra and Perth locations coming soon.