Disabled staff face 12% pay gap

New figures highlight a disability pay gap as the BBC announces moves to increase representation both on screen and behind the scenes.

Close up of someone pushing the wheels of a wheelchair


Disabled employees in the UK are paid 12.2% less than their non-disabled peers, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The figures show the median pay for non-disabled workers in 2018 being £12.11 an hour, compared to £10.63 for disabled staff.

The ONS said disabled females were typically paid 10.1% less than non-disabled females last year, while the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled male employees was 11.6%.

London had the widest disability pay gap between disabled and non-disabled staff at 15.3%, with Scotland’s 8.3% gap being the UK’s narrowest.

Dr Jill Miller from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said: “Businesses that aren’t inclusive – and don’t manage health and disability effectively – risk missing out on hard-working and talented individuals, and damaging their reputation among staff and customers.”

BBC representation

Meanwhile, on the International Day Of People With Disabilities, the BBC has promised a more “authentic and distinctive” representation of disabled people on screen. The corporation has announced several new shows and said there will be an “enhanced portrayal in existing programmes”.

The BBC has also committed to increasing the number of disabled people in its workforce to 12% by 2022. The latest official figure, from March 2018, stood at 10.4%.

Labour has also launched its disability manifesto, which includes pledges to halve the disability employment gap. Only 51% of disabled people of working age are in work, compared with 81% of non-disabled employees.

The manifesto promises to force employers to close the disability pay gap and says it will help them to retain disabled employees. It also pledges to introduce a “reasonable adjustments passport” scheme to help disabled people move more easily between jobs.

A recent survey of employers shows only 53% actively seek and welcome disabled candidates, although three-quarters say that disabled people face barriers when job hunting. The survey of 392 employers by managed recruitment service providers Intelligent Resource found that 80 per cent of employers believe they could do more to attract disabled jobseekers.  Just 40% were ‘very confident’ in the help they provided to jobseekers and existing members of staff with disabilities, with 44% saying the application process was the most challenging aspect for disabled jobseekers. Asked what could make this easier, they said having a disability policy in place and ensuring application processes and assessments were accessible.


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