CRE_DES_Outcomes_6NOV2020.pdf (1.32 MB)

Disability Employment Services (DES) Outcomes in 2020: Effects of COVID-19 Restrictions

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posted on 09.11.2020, 04:25 by Roger Stancliffe, Samia Badji, George Disney

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, people with disability faced longstanding barriers to employment. In 2018, Australians aged 15-64 with disability had a vastly lower employment rate (48%) than their peers without disability (80%).

The restrictions put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus have severely affected the Australian labour market and could make this employment situation even worse. We already know that the economic harms have not been spread evenly. For example, workforce groups such as women and young people have faced greater disadvantage.

One important way Australians with disability are supported to find and retain a job is through a Disability Employment Service (DES). We analysed data on monthly employment outcomes for people with disability who use DESs. By tracking employment outcomes, month by month, through the pandemic, we could assess how people with disability who use DESs were faring this year during COVID-19, compared to when we were COVID-free.

Relative to pre-COVID outcomes, we found large relative falls in job acquisition in the first months of the COVID-19 restrictions, followed by a partial rebound, but to levels still well below the pre-COVID situation. Job retention also fell substantially, but with no sign of a rebound so far.

We explored publicly available Disability Employment Service employment outcome data for people with disability during the months of the COVID-19 lockdown until the end of August 2020, and compared these outcomes to relevant pre-COVID data.

Relative to pre-COVID outcomes, we found large relative falls in job acquisition in the first months of the COVID-19 restrictions, followed by a partial rebound, but to levels still well below the pre-COVID situation. Job retention also fell substantially, but with no sign of a rebound so far.


For more research on disability and employment in Australia, go to our research program page at: www.credh.org.au

Funding

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health

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