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The startling workplace stats about people with disability

Purple, yellow and white graphic that says: There are 2.1 million Australians of working age with disability

It’s December, and the month that hosts the International Day of People with Disability on its third day.

Global significance

As we mentioned in an article posted last month, this is a United Nations’ sanctioned day and has been supported by the Australian Government since 1996.

According to the official website of the UN: “The world’s population is over seven billion people and more than one billion people, or approximately 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability.”

2.1 million Australians

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2018 there were 2.1 million Australians of working age with disability. Of these, 46.6% were not in the labour force, compared with 15.9% of those without disability.

The statistics paint a stark picture.

Ben expresses surprise

Ben Aldridge is a quadriplegic who use to work at Forrest Personnel. He is now the managing director of his own business – 30 Foot Drop. He speaks to the statistics in a soon-to-be-released video for our WorkABILITY Connect platform.

He tells the audience that: “The statistics surprise me. And, I am one of the people who are sitting within these stats. I’m covered by these stats. I’m part of this minority.”

Ben’s a passionate advocate. He knows that we must work together to create employment opportunities and increase that labour force participation rate for people with disability.

Wins all around

When we get people with disability into the labour force, there are benefits to all parties: employers, employees, families and communities. It’s very simple – everyone wins.

And, as our CEO Anna Bagshaw said in a recent interview: “By not being engaged in work, people miss out on the personal and social benefits that work offers. This includes, of course, financial wellbeing and social connectedness.”

During the month of December and beyond, let’s work together to support more people with disability to get working. We will all be better off!


Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

WorkABILITY Connect is a Forrest Personnel package that provides access to free resources and information. It aims to help employers discover the benefits of engaging people with disability.

Let’s make it work together | 1800 224 548