Disability Employment

People with a disability working in the NSW Public Sector

People with a disability have a fundamental right to participate in, and fully contribute to, the life of our society. Employment increases economic independence, and provides the opportunity to contribute to society and to connect with other people.

People with a disability want employment which is purposeful, and with employers who can provide a supportive work environment, opportunities for skill development and a career pathway. The NSW public sector has the capacity to provide this. The sector offers varied career opportunities and work environments, flexible working arrangements and strong leadership across the entire state.

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The Public Service Commission and Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care undertook research – Disabling the Barriers  (PDF 599.6KB) - to understand the employment situation of people with disability in the NSW government sector.

The research included:

  • Detailed analysis of available data from the NSW Public Sector Workforce Profile and the People Matter Employee Survey of NSW government sector employees
  • Study based on 178 interviews with employees and managers in six NSW government sector agencies
  • Review of current international literature.

Disabling the Barriers finds that many employees with disability report that they still face barriers to employment and career progression. The Exposure Draft report identifies four broad actions to improve employment outcomes for people with disability in the NSW government sector: 

  • developing workplace cultures appropriately supportive of employees with disability
  • taking action to maintain (and increase) representation levels of people with disability across the sector to ensure there is a properly planned, sustainable workforce
  • developing more effective ways to measure employment outcomes for people with disability. More comprehensive employee data would improve the sector’s understanding of this cohort, and enhance measurement and planning
  • addressing key employment accessibility and career progression issues for employees with disability, including physical workplace accessibility (ICT and buildings) and flexibility in working arrangements and role design. 

This research is an action item identified in EmployABILITY: A strategy to increase employment opportunities for people with a disability in the NSW public sector. 

EmployAbility - PublicationEmployABILITY is the NSW Government’s strategy to increase the employment of people with disability, including people with mental illness in the NSW public sector. It encourages agencies, managers and employees at every level to focus on ability, not disability, and to explore opportunities to value and build a workforce that reflects the diversity of our society.