The representation of people with a disability in the NSW public sector continues to decline, estimated at 3.1% in 2014 compared to 3.5% in 2013 (see Figure 8). One factor in this decline is considerable under-reporting by employees with a disability. In the 2014 People Matter survey, a higher proportion of employees identified themselves as having a disability (6%) however the reasons for this difference are not known.
Figure 8: Estimated representation of employees with a disability, 2006-14
These trends suggest that traditional measures focused on compliance through equal employment opportunity planning and reporting have not been sufficient to halt the decline in representation of people with disability. PSC has been working with the Department of Family and Community Services to develop strategies that will improve the performance of the public sector in this regard.
Disabling the Barriers research12 in 2012 found that people with a disability still face barriers to employment and career progression in government workplaces, including physical access to sites, limited flexibility in working arrangements, lack of development opportunities and low levels of workplace engagement. These obstacles are reflected today in the findings of our Agency survey, with almost a quarter of agencies saying it was a challenge for them to ensure buildings were accessible for people with disabilities and 18% finding it difficult to ensure equipment, work processes and resources are accessible and fair.
Fewer agencies (11%) reported difficulties ensuring recruitment processes are accessible and fair. Recruitment and selection processes designed to accommodate the needs of employees with disability were in place at 83% of agencies but only 11% reported implementation at a highly developed level.PSC will work with agencies on developing supportive workplace cultures, finding better ways to measure employment outcomes for people with a disability and addressing employment accessibility and career progression issues such as physical access to the workplace (ICT and buildings), work flexibility and the design of roles.
12.NSW Public Service Commission (2014), Disabling the Barriers Research, Key Findings Exposure Draft, May 2014