Coles Group ranked #1 for recruitment of Aussies with disabilities

Access and Inclusion Index of 26 organisations: Coles #1 for Recruitment and Selection; #2 for Career and Development, Suppliers and Partners; #3 Overall, jumping 5 places in two years

9 June 2022

Australia’s peak body for workplace inclusivity has ranked Coles Group number one out of 26 organisations for its commitment to the Recruitment and Selection of people living with disabilities in the Access and Inclusion Index 2021. 

The Australian Network on Disability announced the winners of its inaugural Disability Confidence Awards last night, shining a light on organisations that have made systemic changes to their workplaces to become inclusive of employees and customers with a disability.

Coles Group was recognised for continuing to develop momentum and implement new initiatives to improve access and inclusion for people with disability, ranking in third place in the Access and Inclusion Index 2021 overall, climbing an impressive five places from eighth position in 2019.

The result comes after Coles has embedded inclusion recruitment specialists in its Talent Acquisition team, increasing the number of people it employed with a disability this financial year by 1011, compared to an increase of 281 at the same time last year. Coles has been actively seeking applications from candidates with a disability and making adjustments to allow candidates with disability to perform at their best. 

Australian Network on Disability Chief Executive Officer Corene Strauss said the Access and Inclusion Index is Australia’s corporate benchmarking tool for inclusion of people with disability.

“The results provide organisations with a roadmap for improvement and a national benchmark by which to measure and progress their maturity on accessibility and disability inclusion,” Ms Strauss said.

“This impressive result for Coles jumping up five places on the Index in two years demonstrates it’s committed to removing barriers that prevent people with disability from finding employment.  Coles shows strong leadership across all areas of inclusiveness as evidenced by a well-developed Accessibility Steering Committee structure and an established disability employee network.” 

Coles Group Chief Market Officer and Co-Chair of the Accessibility Committee Lisa Ronson said she is delighted that Coles has been recognised on the Index for the work it is doing, particularly to increase the number of team members who are living with a disability.

“Our vision for diversity is to foster a safe, inclusive and diverse workplace that is reflective of the community and customers we serve,” Ms Ronson said.

“Disability-confident recruiters are key to our success in hiring and retaining skilled and talented employees with disability. I want to personally commend our Talent Acquisition team for the work they have been doing to drive change and welcome and nurture more Australians living with a disability to Coles.  These incredible team members have so much skill and knowledge to share in our workplace. They teach us about how we can make Coles more inclusive for our team, our customers and suppliers living with disabilities.  We know there are so many more positive outcomes we can achieve for those living with a disability and we will use the findings of the Index to help guide future initiatives in this space.” 

Coles has built relationships with employment providers to provide support to people with disabilities throughout the employment experience, including offering alternative formats to the recruitment process to ensure candidates with disability are offered a fair, equitable and supportive recruitment experience.  In addition, Coles has introduced specialised talent programs for people with disability including the program ACE for the employment of people with autism.


What is Coles’ involvement with the Access and Inclusion Index?

  • Under our Diversity and Inclusion focus in the area of Accessibility, Coles has publicly committed to take part in the Australian Network on Disability’s Access and Inclusion Index to make sure we are always working to improve our inclusion score.
  • Coles submits a Self-Assessment to the A&I Index every two years and has fulfilled its commitment to improve it score each time as per below:
AND score (/100) Rank
Index score 2021 72 3/26
Index score 2019 63 8/24
Index score 2017 44 10

Relative to other organisations in specific categories

  • Coles is ranked first out of the 26 organisations participating in the Recruitment and Selection sections.
  • Coles is ranked second out of the 26 organisations participating for Career Development and Suppliers and Partners.
  • Information provided by Australian Network on Disability

More than 2 million Australians of working age have a disability however only 48% of these people are employed. The unemployment rate for people with disability has risen from 8% in 2003 to 10% in 2018, more than double the unemployment rate among people without a disability. According to the Disability Royal Commission, Australia has one of the lowest employment rates for people with a disability in the OECD.

The Australian Network on Disability, which has more than 370 member organisations, helps businesses and governments to improve access and inclusivity in the workplace. 

For further information, please contact Coles Media Line (03) 9829 5250 or

Coles Group ranked #1 for recruitment of Aussies with disabilities

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