Lead Toolkit

1. About this Toolkit

1.1 What is disability?

Nearly 1 in 4 New Zealanders identifies as having a disability.

There are many different kinds of disability – including physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health related.

A disability may be visible or hidden, permanent or temporary and could have a minor or major impact on a person’s life. A disability may affect mobility, ability to learn, ability to see, or ability to communicate easily.

Who are disabled people?

Disabled people are throughout our community: men, women, and children; employers and employees; students and teachers; people of all ethnicities and religions; customers and citizens.

No two people are the same, and no two people with the same disability experience it in the same way.

The facts

  • 21% of people aged 15 to 64 years are disabled.
  • 85% of disabled 15 to 64 year olds are not disabled at birth.
  • 24% of people in New Zealand are disabled.
  • 45% of disabled adults are employed compared with 72% of non-disabled adults.
  • 61% of disabled people aged 15 to 64 were working in paid jobs in 2013.
  • 74% of those who weren’t employed said they would like to work if a job was available.

3.7 – 6.9%[2] of employees in the State Sector identify as being disabled.

1.2 How this Toolkit can help you

This is a 'how to' Toolkit for employing disabled people.

Disabled people are a fabulous untapped talent pool of loyal and committed employees. They bring a perspective that can help transform an organisation’s culture, client relations and performance for the better.

Employers are in a unique position to take a leadership role in employing disabled people and take advantage of their skills.

This Toolkit contains a range of information and resources for leadership teams, managers and human resources teams to help them employ disabled people within their organisations.


Disabled people account for 24% of the New Zealand population.[3] Taking the lead in increasing the number of disabled people employed will enhance your reputation and assist you to be more client-centred.

Employees look to their leadership team to drive and champion change. This Toolkit explains how leadership teams can drive the change within their own organisations, as well as the business case for why they should.

Human resources

Human resources teams have a responsibility to attract the best possible candidates, including disabled people, for roles within their organisation. This Toolkit provides advice about how to ensure that your recruitment process provides access to the talent pool of disabled people.


Managers need to attract the best people to their teams. Disabled people are a fabulous pool of untapped talent of loyal and committed employees. An important part of any manager’s role is getting the best from all employees, including disabled employees.

This Toolkit builds managers’ confidence to recruit the best people for their jobs, including disabled people. It also helps managers to work effectively with all employees by using an adaptive and flexible management style, so all staff can reach their full potential.

1.3 Toolkit components

Accessibility should be part of the briefcase of:

  • Leadership, Human Resources, Managers

For accessibility to be part of your briefcase:

  • Read this Toolkit
  • Watch the Taking the Lead video
  • Everyone, to take the lead.

[2] This estimate is from a Human Right Commission (2014) survey covering 88% of the public service. It is acknowledged as an underestimate due to challenges collecting reliable data. The State Services Commission, now known as Te Kawa Mataaho the Public Service Commission, stopped collecting data in 2002 because of these challenges. At that time, 6.9% identified as being disabled, down from 10.6% in 1998.

[3] The information is sourced from https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/disability-survey-2013.

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