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Remote work drives job opportunities for parents and persons with disabilities

man in wheelchair working on laptop at home.

More parents, people with a disability or health condition and carers have joined the workforce thanks to the COVID-19-induced shift to remote work and the strong labour market, new CEDA research has found.

More parents, people with a disability or health condition and carers have joined the workforce thanks to the COVID-19-induced shift to remote work and the strong labour market, new CEDA research has found.

The analysis of 2022 Household Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey data found workforce participation in jobs where people could work from home jumped by 8.5 percentage points for women with young children and nearly six percentage points for people with a disability or health condition from 2019 to 2022.

These groups now also work from home at similar rates to other workers.

“This is a clear win for workers, employers and the economy and can help the Federal Government achieve its vision of full employment,” CEDA Chief Economist Cassandra Winzar said.

“Embedding these gains even when the jobs market inevitably softens should be a priority.

“Implementing changes that make both remote and in-office work more effective – such as clarifying performance expectations, formalising mentoring and developing communication and management skills – is a good place to start.

“While hybrid arrangements can deliver benefits by balancing productivity, participation and employee preferences, employers will need to continue to experiment with different approaches to find what works best for them and their employees, while noting the best approach may change over time.”

The findings by CEDA Senior Economist Melissa Wilson and Economist James Brooks form part of Economic and Policy Outlook (EPO) 2024, which looks at the key issues likely to drive economic and policy outcomes this year.

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