By Susan Muldowney
Much has been done to improve gender and racial diversity in the workplace, but what provisions are companies making to ensure people with a disability can find a job and work at their full potential?
In 2009, Rob Crestani was ready to get back into the workforce. He’d left his previous long-term employer for family reasons and although he’d been out of work for only a short time he believed his prospects were far slimmer than for most other job seekers.
“I remember staring at my computer and thinking, ‘Rob, you’re nearly 50 and you’ve got a disability – this job search is going to be fun’,” he says with a smile.
Crestani, who is legally blind, is now senior consultant of ANZ’s Abilities Program and works to increase job opportunities at the bank for people with a disability. He is among only 53 per cent of working-age Australians with a disability to be employed, according to the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. By stark contrast, 83 per cent of working-age people without disabilities are employed.
Despite a well-established movement to increase diversity in the workplace, the representation of people with disabilities – which equates to 4.5 million Australians – is disproportionately low.