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Getting workplace adjustments out of the “too hard” basket

Australian Disability Network’s much requested flagship research project about workplace adjustments is now complete. Using a mix of surveys and interviews, the research explored the lived experiences of 400 people with disability about requesting and receiving adjustments to enable them to perform the essential requirements of their role, and during recruitment. The research also explored 200 organisations’ experiences and initiatives in using workplace adjustments to break down barriers in recruiting and retaining people with disability.
The overarching themes of the research findings tell an inter-connected story about how employees with disability are impacted by their immediate workplace environments, including their managers and colleagues, and by organisational policies and culture.

Our research, by listening to the experiences of organisations and people with disability, synthesises their knowledge into recommendations about how to address the issues that prevent jobseekers and employees from participating equitably in the Australian workplace. The quantitative data points provide further guidance for organisations to identify where they can improve their processes and learn from the experiences of other organisations.



Dr Catherine Maitland

Research Lead, Australian Disability Network

Dr Catherine Maitland has been the Research Lead at Australian Disability Network for the past 12 months. She has 16 years’ experience in the disability sector, specialising in learning and development for support workers, providing person-centred active support, and social and economic inclusion of people with disability. She is an active member of the Disability Research Network at University Technology Sydney. Her PhD, completed in 2022, focused on the perspectives of people with intellectual disability and support workers about their experiences of disability support work. Her recent major research project about workplace adjustments at Australian Disability Network has been requested by organisations for years, and Catherine is delighted to present the findings and recommendations at the conference. The research is grounded in the experiences of people with disability and organisations, and provides a practical evidence base about identifying and proactively addressing the issues that prevent jobseekers and employees from participating equitably in the Australian workplace.