When attending interviews you may come across a range of employer
concerns. While these concerns may be genuine, they are often based on
assumptions or a lack of knowledge or experience of employing people with
disability. Dispelling some of the myths will provide you with an opportunity to
correct misinformation and to positively market yourself to employers. You may
also like to talk to employers about some of the benefits to their business when
they employ people with disability.
If you are receiving assistance from an Australian Government employment
service provider, you may also want to speak with them about how you can address
any employer concerns.
Free expert help with employment
The following information covers the major categories of employer concerns
and the information that you can provide to the employer to help allay these
Your Previous bad Jobs experiences
The first response of many employers is that they have already tried
hiring someone with disability but it was unsuccessful and they would not want
to try it again.
In responding to this concern, you may like to talk to the employer
- how you have considered all the inherent requirements of the job and
that you are able to complete each requirement as a result of your skills
- if you are registered with an Australian Government employment service
provider, how you are receiving support from them and that they are also
able to provide assistance to the employer
- the financial help available to the employer if you require any
workplace adjustments or modifications at work.
All the pages on our web site print out in a user friendly format. You may
like to print out some information on the financial help available to employers
so that you can hand this to employers during an interview:
Gaps in your previous jobs history
If an employer is concerned about any gaps that you may have in your
employment history, you may like to talk to the employer about:
- any study, volunteer work or other activities you completed during this
- your keenness to work
- your future career goals and how the job fits into this path.
The following guide provides more advice if you have an episodic work history
due to mental illness:
Applying for a job when you have an episodic work history
Elevated insurance and safety costs
A common misconception among employers is that workers compensation
costs will increase due to hiring people with disability or that employees with
disability are more likely to have accidents at work. This is definitely not the
case. Whether an employer has employed people with disability is irrelevant to
the calculation of such premiums. Premiums are based on accidents at work and
not the characteristics of particular groups of employees and there is no proof
that employees with disability are more susceptible to workplace injury than
In fact, research suggests that people with disability can have fewer accidents
at work?the workers compensation costs for people with disability can be as low
as four per cent of the workers compensation costs of other employees (Graffam
et al 1999).
You may like to print out the following information so that you can hand them to
employers during interviews if you are finding that this issue is a concern:
Occupational health and safety
In addition, the Office of the Australian Safety and Compensation Council
has produced a report that answers the question: Are people with disability at
risk at work? See our Related Links for more information.
Possible side effects of medication
A related concern among employers is the safety implications of
medication in the workplace. Most people with disability do not regularly use
medication but if you do, be aware of the nature of any side effects.
You are only required to tell an employer about any medication that you are
taking if it will impact on you job performance. It is therefore important that
you consider how the medication might impact on your work performance and what
adjustments might be necessary to alleviate them.
For example, if the medication makes you feel drowsy for a few hours after
you take them, you may need to take extra precautions during that time, or
alternatively you could start and finish work at a later time.
If you do require adjustments as a result of any medication, have
a conversation with the employer and:
- be clear and matter of fact about why you are disclosing details about
your medication and your desired outcome from doing so
- be knowledgeable about your disability and the medication
- provide some options and strategies for making the reasonable adjustment
to make it easy for the employer.
The following guides provide more advice on disclosure and reasonable
Disclosure and privacy
What is reasonable adjustment?
Some employers will argue that it is not financially viable for them to
hire people with disability as they work too slowly. But the reality is that
most people with disability work at productivity levels equivalent to other
employees and receive full wages.
If you are concerned about your productivity as a result of the nature of your
disability, then you may wish to consider the Supported Wage System. With the
Supported Wage System eligible people with disability can access a reliable
process of productivity-based wage assessment to determine fair pay for fair
The following guide provides more information on the Supported Wage System:
Wages based on your productivity
Unhelpful co-worker or customer response
It is quite common to hear employers say that hiring a person with
disability will ?not work? as customers will complain or the person will
not 'fit in' with co-workers. Neither statement is true and in most
cases customer and co-worker acceptance comes with familiarity and the
observation that workers with disability are competent and efficient in
Furthermore, people with disability make up 20 per cent of the
Australian population and the likelihood of customers and co-workers
having a relative or friend with disability is therefore reasonably
high. Employer initiatives in hiring people with disability can
consequently have positive bottom line spin offs in the form of
increased staff morale and community recognition as good corporate