People with a disability are disproportionally impacted by unemployment which is a significant social injustice and challenge and can lead to persistent vulnerability, disadvantage and exclusion.
Unemployed people with a disability are also more likely to suffer from depression than those who work.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data highlights that more people with disabilities are unemployed than those without disabilities. Labour force participation rates for people with a disability are lower than for those without disabilities.
Working aged people with a disability are twice as likely to be unemployed than those without a disability. These levels are higher in the 15–24-year age cohort.
The result of a lower labour force participation rate, when combined with a higher unemployment rate, is that people with disabilities are less likely to be employed and for a longer period than those without disabilities. This is an issue of social inequality and can lead to persistent disadvantage, vulnerability and exclusion.
Employment provides not only income and associated economic independence, but opportunities for social participation, learning and capacity building as well as providing dignity and a sense of identity. The companionship, stimulation, achievement and self-worth which supported employment provides is of immense value to the employee, family and community.
We know that people with disability want greater opportunities to fully participate in economic and community life. People with disability can sometimes find it hard to get a job and keep it. For people with disability who want a job, we need to support them to access and keep one. Often, employment in a supported environment may be the only realistic and appropriate work opportunity for some members of our community.