A Guide to Disability Inclusive Recruitment

Unlocking Australia’s hidden talent: The strategic imperative of disability inclusive hiring

A wheelchair user enjoys the outdoors, facing away from the camera on a sidewalk with lush plants and trees in the surroundings.

Imagine a workforce that’s like a vibrant tapestry made up of diverse experiences, perspectives, and abilities. It’s like a symphony of creative solutions coming from the collective wisdom of individuals with unique strengths and vulnerabilities. This isn’t just an idealistic vision; it’s a real possibility if organisations in Australia embrace inclusive hiring practices for people with disability. 

Australia boasts a diverse array of talent, yet a concerning disparity persists in employment rates. Only 52.6% of people with disability participate in the workforce compared to 75.2% of their counterparts (ABS, 2021). This 22.6% gap represents a vast, untapped talent pool that Australian businesses are inadvertently overlooking (AIHW, 2022).

Ignoring this hidden potential isn’t just ethically questionable, it’s strategically short sighted. Research by the Productivity Commission (2022) highlights a 25% increase in profitability and a 30% decrease in employee turnover for companies embracing disability-inclusive practices. This increased return stems from the unique strengths and perspectives people with disability bring to the table. 

The logic is simple, disability inclusion unlocks a treasure trove of diverse perspectives, fuelling out-of-the-box problem-solving and fostering a dynamically adaptable workforce crucial in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. Moreover, it bolsters your brands reputation as a socially responsible employer, attracting top talent and customers who increasingly value ethical practices.

But the benefits extend beyond numbers! Cultivating a culture of inclusion fosters a loyal and dedicated team. Studies reveal that people with disability who experience genuine inclusion report higher job satisfaction, leading to reduced turnover and increased productivity. This positive ripple effect translates to cost savings and a more stable, engaged workforce.

So, how do you embark on this transformative journey? 

4 steps to start to your roadmap to disability-inclusive recruitment

Clear Communication

  • Inclusive Language: Remember to use “person-first” terms like “person with disability.”  This shows respect for the individual and ensures your communication is welcoming for everyone. Ditch disability-limiting words like “ wheelchair bound.” Instead, try “wheelchair user,” or better yet, use the person’s name! Remember, disability is just one part of someone’s story.

  • Assistive Technology Integration: Embrace assistive technologies such as screen readers and accessible application formats. This helps in making the recruitment process more inclusive and accessible for all.

Accessible Practices

  • Inclusive Design Process: Provide alternative application formats and ensure recruitment systems are compatible with assistive technologies. Offering text transcripts for audio content makes information more accessible for all applicants.

  • Accessible Interviews: Consider both remote interview options and physically accessible venues. This not only accommodates individuals with different needs but also showcases a commitment to inclusivity. Utilising Auslan interpreters or captioning services ensures effective communication for everyone.

  • Offer Adjustments: Provide the opportunity to request adjustments to the recruitment process at various stages throughout and provide these in a timely manner.

Unconscious Bias Awareness

  • Educating Staff: Implement comprehensive unconscious bias training for recruitment teams and hiring managers. This helps in fostering awareness about potential biases and ensures fair evaluations during the hiring process.

  • Diverse Interview Panels: Include people with disability and connection to disability in interview panels to provide a broader perspective. This approach contributes to a more nuanced understanding of candidates and minimises the impact of unconscious biases.

  • Structured Interviews: Implement standardised questions and scoring rubrics to create consistency in the interview process. This structure minimises subjective judgments, promoting fair assessments of candidates.

Building a Supportive Environment

  • Open Communication: Encourage transparent communication, to allow employees with disability the psychological safety to disclose their needs and request reasonable accommodations. Creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their requirements is essential for building trust.

  • Investing in Growth: Offer dedicated training programs, resources, mentorship and leadership opportunities, and skill development initiatives specifically designed for employees with disability. This investment contributes to their professional growth and helps in creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace.
Dylan Alcott's quote along with his image. The quote reads "“If you’re going to talk about disability, make sure someone with disability has a seat at the table.”

How GSA Can Facilitate Your Journey?

Embarking on the path of disability inclusion can often feel like venturing into uncharted territory. While the destination promises significant rewards, the journey comes with its own challenges. Rather than forcing an awkward fit, GSA tailors disability inclusion to your business DNA, seamlessly integrating it into your existing operations and strategy.

Recruitment Review: 

Picture GSA as your expert guide, meticulously examining your current recruitment process. We delve deeply, identifying concealed disparities and accessibility barriers, and identify opportunities that may progress. Our consultants then provide tailored advice and recommendations, highlighting critical areas for improvement and suggesting practical, sustainable solutions. This ensures your organisation navigates a course toward equitable and dignified access for all candidates, leaving no one behind.

Building a Robust Strategy with a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP):

Crafting an authentic DIAP involves constructing a plan prepared to address barriers and seeks opportunities that strengthens disability inclusion across your organisation. GSA acts as your guide, leading you through designing a customised plan that aligns with your unique organisational goals and aspirations. We ensure your DIAP serves as a roadmap to actions that are clear, actionable and measurable that supports your organisation to meet its disability inclusion goals.

Empowering Your Team with Training and Resources:

Knowledge is the key to success. GSA delivers comprehensive training programs and resources designed to equip your team with the tools and understanding needed to navigate the journey of disability inclusion. From interactive workshops on disability inclusion in the workplace to tailored sessions on accessible communication and interview practices, we empower your staff to champion inclusion at every level. Envision your organisation as a united team, with every member confidently navigating the landscape of diversity, creating a truly welcoming and supportive environment for all.

At GSA we recognise having effective and courageous conversations about disability inclusion may be uncomfortable and new. It requires sensitivity and care — plus a healthy dose of transparency — to unlearn unconscious bias and become more aware. Our training sessions offer a safe space. We want participants to feel comfortable asking questions they might’ve been afraid to in the past. You’re called in, not out. We firmly believe misconceptions can only be changed if we start the conversation in the first place. 

A Constant Companion – Ongoing Advice and Support:

Even in the face of challenges, GSA remains your steadfast companion throughout your journey, offering continuous advice and support through personalised consultations and expert guidance. We’re here to address your questions, tackle unforeseen challenges, and celebrate your victories. With GSA by your side, you can navigate the ever-changing landscape of disability inclusion with confidence, knowing you have a dedicated partner committed to your success.

Embracing disability inclusive recruitment isn’t merely a commendable ambition; it’s a strategic imperative. It’s about unlocking a vast pool of talent, fostering a dynamic and resilient workforce, and constructing a workplace where everyone can thrive. Let GSA be your guide on this transformative journey, assisting you in charting a course towards a genuinely inclusive future, enriching your organisation and empowering your people every step of the way.

Get Skilled Access Team

Team GSA

At GSA, we’re not just consultants; we’re people with disability, lived experience of disability and allies of disability inclusion. Along with our extensive array of professional skill sets, this authenticity infuses our process, making us uniquely positioned to guide your organisation on its inclusive journey. We understand that every organisation is on a unique path, and we’re here to guide you through it. While we are the experts in disability inclusion, we also understand that you know your business better than anyone else. That is why our approach is one of co-design. We call in, not out. We work alongside you to create a pathway that suits you and your organisation’s objectives.

Come join us, ask questions, and unlock the transformative power of genuine inclusion.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2021):

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW, 2022):

Productivity Commission (2022):

  • Report: “Shifting the dial: Disability, workforce participation and productivity”: https://www.pc.gov.au/
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