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Retail among most supportive of disability employment, but gap remains

Most retailers are open to hiring people with disabilities, but few businesses actually follow through on it, according to new research from the Australian Government, which is looking to raise awareness about disability employment today, the International Day of People with Disability.

While 78 per cent of employers surveyed in the retail, accommodation and food services sectors said they are open to the idea of hiring people with a disability, only 45 per cent of those surveyed are actually doing so.

One reason for this gap could be the lack of education and support for employers that want to provide work opportunities to people with a disability, but don’t know how. Only 42 per cent of employers surveyed said their workplace was equipped to employ someone with a disability, and 42 per cent said that doing so would be a “step into the unknown”.

Nearly two thirds of employers, however, said that equal work opportunities for people with disabilities was personally important them.

Large (90 per cent) and medium businesses (83 per cent) were more open to employing people with a disability compared to small (77 per cent) and micro businesses (76 per cent).

Of those businesses that were open to the idea, the majority of respondents said that employees with disability have a good attitude to work and are loyal to the business.

Overall, retail, accommodation and food services was among the major industry groups that is most most supportive and open to hiring people with a disability. Others include professional and financial services, and social, health care and education services.

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