One in five Australians has a disability but their skills, experience and educational qualifications are under-utilised in the higher education sector. There are legislative obligations on universities to be equitable in their recruitment and employment practices but there is also a good business case for developing a staff profile that better reflects that of the broader society. Employing people with disability not only taps into a rich pool of skills and experience in a tight labour market but also provides powerful role models for students.
Whether an employee had a disability at the time of their employment or developed one through accident or illness, making the most of the talents and energy that people with disability requires strong leadership, effective recruitment and employment practices and often a degree of creativity.
Employers should have clear policies to ensure that recruitment and selection processes are not discriminatory. As well as being legally obliged to make reasonable accommodations, providing a safe workplace, free of harrassment and discrimination enables all employees to maximise their productivity and job satisfaction. While people with disability do not necessarily require adjustments to the workplace, advice from outside experts can be useful.