Vision Australia's National Employment Survey 2018

This survey has now concluded. Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback.

Thank you to the people who participated in this survey. Your responses have helped us to improve our understanding of the employment experience for people who are blind or have low vision. In completing this survey, you have played an important role in refining our employment services and informing our advocacy approach to employers and government.

Through the feedback provided by survey respondents it is evident that people who are blind or have low vision continue to face a number of challenges in securing and maintaining employment. However, it is encouraging to note that there are some positive improvements in relation to employment, compared to previous research conducted by Vision Australia in 2007 and 2012.

These include:

  • The level of unemployment among survey respondents (24% in 2018 survey) has softened significantly in the last six years (63% in 2007, 58% in 2012).

  • The proportion of survey respondents who are tertiary qualified has increased from 40% in 2007, 51% in 2012 to 61% in 2018. The employment levels of those with an undergraduate or post graduate qualification appears to indicate how these tertiary qualifications favourably impact employment opportunities.

  • Under a third (27%) of respondents who are employed would like to work more hours. This has decreased from 33% in 2012, potentially indicating a slight downward trend in the issue of underemployment for people who are blind or have low vision.

Despite this, there remain a number of areas for improvement:

  • While the level of unemployment among survey respondents has improved, due to the current low Australian unemployment rate, the rate of unemployment of survey respondents is more than four times that of the Australian population, which sits at 5.4%.

  • Unfortunately, there has been a significant decrease in the level of job satisfaction since 2012, with just 59% of those surveyed being satisfied or very satisfied in their current role. This compares to 82% of respondents in 2012. This seems to be linked to whether people have opportunities to utilise their skills and qualifications and to whether people feel valued, respected and supported in the workplace.

  • There has been a marked increase in respondents reporting barriers and discrimination in the workplace (63% in 2018 versus 26% in 2012). Fifty-three percent of people also reported experiencing barriers or discrimination while job-seeking. In both 2018 and 2012 negative employer attitudes is considered the top barrier when job seeking.

The depth and volume of feedback we have received has provided us with highly valuable insight across many areas related to gaining and maintaining employment. The feedback is helping us to refine our employment related programs and services, to develop strong messages for our communications campaigns, and to inform our advocacy to government and employers.

The de-identified survey results are being shared with our international partner organisations doing similar studies (including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) to get an even better understanding of employment for people who are blind or have low vision across our communities.

All data that has been collected in this survey will be kept anonymous and confidential. Information has been reported in aggregate, without any identifying features associated with any individual.

The feedback provided is much appreciated, and thanks again to those who shared their voice.







Thank you to the people who participated in this survey. Your responses have helped us to improve our understanding of the employment experience for people who are blind or have low vision. In completing this survey, you have played an important role in refining our employment services and informing our advocacy approach to employers and government.

Through the feedback provided by survey respondents it is evident that people who are blind or have low vision continue to face a number of challenges in securing and maintaining employment. However, it is encouraging to note that there are some positive improvements in relation to employment, compared to previous research conducted by Vision Australia in 2007 and 2012.

These include:

  • The level of unemployment among survey respondents (24% in 2018 survey) has softened significantly in the last six years (63% in 2007, 58% in 2012).

  • The proportion of survey respondents who are tertiary qualified has increased from 40% in 2007, 51% in 2012 to 61% in 2018. The employment levels of those with an undergraduate or post graduate qualification appears to indicate how these tertiary qualifications favourably impact employment opportunities.

  • Under a third (27%) of respondents who are employed would like to work more hours. This has decreased from 33% in 2012, potentially indicating a slight downward trend in the issue of underemployment for people who are blind or have low vision.

Despite this, there remain a number of areas for improvement:

  • While the level of unemployment among survey respondents has improved, due to the current low Australian unemployment rate, the rate of unemployment of survey respondents is more than four times that of the Australian population, which sits at 5.4%.

  • Unfortunately, there has been a significant decrease in the level of job satisfaction since 2012, with just 59% of those surveyed being satisfied or very satisfied in their current role. This compares to 82% of respondents in 2012. This seems to be linked to whether people have opportunities to utilise their skills and qualifications and to whether people feel valued, respected and supported in the workplace.

  • There has been a marked increase in respondents reporting barriers and discrimination in the workplace (63% in 2018 versus 26% in 2012). Fifty-three percent of people also reported experiencing barriers or discrimination while job-seeking. In both 2018 and 2012 negative employer attitudes is considered the top barrier when job seeking.

The depth and volume of feedback we have received has provided us with highly valuable insight across many areas related to gaining and maintaining employment. The feedback is helping us to refine our employment related programs and services, to develop strong messages for our communications campaigns, and to inform our advocacy to government and employers.

The de-identified survey results are being shared with our international partner organisations doing similar studies (including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) to get an even better understanding of employment for people who are blind or have low vision across our communities.

All data that has been collected in this survey will be kept anonymous and confidential. Information has been reported in aggregate, without any identifying features associated with any individual.

The feedback provided is much appreciated, and thanks again to those who shared their voice.