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RecruitAbility scheme: A guide for agencies


  1. One of the Employment Principles in the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act) is that the Australian Public Service (APS) recognises the diversity of the Australian community and fosters diversity in the workplace. The APS is better able to deliver services to the public if it is staffed by people who are representative of the diversity of the Australian community.
  2. RecruitAbility supports these principles. RecruitAbility is an affirmative measure that provides for progression of applicants with disability to the next stage in a selection process if they have been assessed as meeting the minimum requirements of the job.
  3. The aims of RecruitAbility are to:
    1. support the increased representation of people with disability in the APS
    2. improve disability confidence of hiring managers
    3. improve confidence of people with disability to put forward their skills and capabilities.
  4. RecruitAbility was introduced under the As One: Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy and started as a pilot in June 2013. It was implemented APS-wide from 1 January 2015.

Legislative basis

  1. The legislative basis for RecruitAbility is set out in section 28 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016 (the Directions). 1
  2. Engagement and promotion decisions must still be made on merit in accordance with the Act.


  1. The following principles will help managers develop locally appropriate RecruitAbility policies and practices:
    1. Applicants with disability who apply under RecruitAbility and meet minimum requirements are progressed to the next stage of a selection process.
    2. There is no displacement of applicants who would otherwise have been shortlisted for further assessment.
    3. Agencies manage their recruitment activities within the boundaries of legislation and policy.

RecruitAbility in practice

  1. The best way to prepare to recruit a person with disability is to focus on the minimum requirements of the role and commit to making reasonable adjustments if required.
  2. The flowchart at Attachment A provides the steps generally taken in recruitment processes and includes RecruitAbility specific activities.

Opt in

  1. RecruitAbility provides an opportunity for people with disability to progress to further assessment stages in APS recruitment processes, if they:
    1. declare they have a disability
    2. apply and opt into RecruitAbility, and
    3. meet the minimum requirements for the vacancy.
  2. Applicants self-identify as a person with disability—RecruitAbility does not require evidence of disability. APS Code of Conduct procedures could be used to manage situations where employees are reasonably suspected to have made a false statement.
  3. RecruitAbility's definition of disability is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Disability Ageing and Carers Survey (4433.0).The ABS definition can be found here.

Sharing information

  1. A person with disability is not legally required to provide information about their disability unless it affects their ability to do the tasks that must be carried out to get the job done.
  2. Applicants have a right to privacy when applying for jobs in the APS. The choice to, or not to, share information about disability is a matter for each individual to decide.
  3. Agencies cannot release information about a disability without the applicant's consent unless authorised or required by law. For further information on requirements under the Privacy Act 1988 see http://www.oaic.gov.au.

Advertising jobs using RecruitAbility

  1. RecruitAbility can be applied to all ongoing and non-ongoing APS vacancies, including those at the Senior Executive Service level. Vacancies advertised under RecruitAbility include the following notification:

    "RecruitAbility applies to this vacancy. Under RecruitAbility you will be invited to participate in further assessment activity for the vacancy if you choose to apply under RecruitAbility; declare you have a disability; and meet the minimum requirements for the position".

  2. The RecruitAbility information for agency information pack is at Attachment B, including:
    1. RecruitAbility branding
    2. an explanation of RecruitAbility for applicants
    3. an example of a RecruitAbility diversity data collection notice.

Assessment of minimum requirements

  1. Using the chosen agency assessment method, the selection panel undertakes shortlisting of the candidates.
  2. It is good practice to review all RecruitAbility candidate applications that were not included in the initial shortlist. This ensures that RecruitAbility candidates who meet the minimum requirements are included in the next stage of recruitment assessments.
  3. An applicant meets the minimum requirements of the vacancy if considered to meet the minimum standards that the job requires and any eligibility requirements for the position e.g. qualifications.

Reasonable adjustment

  1. Agencies have a legal obligation under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to provide reasonable adjustments to assist people with disability to compete for APS employment opportunities. This may include participation in interviews, at assessment centres and to perform their duties.
  2. It is good practice to ask all job applicants, including those who have opted into RecruitAbility, whether they require any reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. Reasonable adjustments will assist an applicant to participate in the interview and, if successful, perform the duties of the advertised job.

Feedback and outcome

  1. One of the aims of RecruitAbility is to improve the confidence and capability of applicants with a disability. It is helpful to applicants and achieves this RecruitAbility outcome if agencies provide good quality feedback. Feedback provides the applicant with the confidence to apply for APS vacancies in the future.
  2. Where the outcomes of a selection process are required to be notified in the Public Service Gazette, it will also be necessary to tick the RecruitAbility box when lodging the APSjobs notification. This enables measurement of the success of RecruitAbility. Information about the RecruitAbility status of any candidate will not be published and it is collected for statistical reporting only.

Disability confident managers

  1. A disability confident manager understands that people with disability have a broad range of skills and capabilities. If you would like your agency to improve its ability to recruit people with disability please visit the Australian Network on Disability's Confident Recruiter program.


Agencies can contact the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) by  email to diversity [at] apsc.gov.au for more information on RecruitAbility. In addition, you can visit the following websites:

  1. APSC website:
    1. www.apsc.gov.au/managing in the APS/disability
  2. The Australian Government's website:
    1. www.JobAccess.gov.au


1 Section 28 of the Directions provides that the RecruitAbility scheme 'is an affirmative measure to make arrangements for people with disability to be considered for engagement or promotion'.

Last reviewed: 
9 December 2020