As noted in the National Disability Strategy, “Work is essential to an individual’s economic security and is important to achieving social inclusion. Employment contributes to physical and mental health, personal wellbeing and a sense of identity” (Endnote 6).
Labour force data was collected from people aged 15-64 years living in households. In 2012, around 39% of people with intellectual disability were in the labour force compared with 55% of people with other types of disability and 83% of the non-disabled population.
As can be seen in Graph 4, people with an intellectual disability were less likely to be employed full-time (12%) than people with other types of disabilities (32%). This differed from the population without disability where over half were employed full-time (55%). Compared with other disability groups, people with intellectual disability had the second lowest proportion of people employed full-time (12%) after people with psychological disability (8%). The three most commonly reported occupations of those with intellectual disability were labourers (45%), technicians and trades workers (16%), and community and personal service workers (12%).
The unemployment rate (i.e. the percentage of people in the labour force who are unemployed) for people with intellectual disability was significantly higher (20%) than the unemployment rates for people with other types of disability (8%) and people with no disability (5%).
Substantive differences among the populations were apparent for those not in the labour force. The majority of people with intellectual disability were not in the labour force (61%) compared with just under half of people with other disability types (50%) and 18% of people without disability.