ARAG examines The Ability Pay Gap

Wheelchair-in-office

Authored by ARAG Product Development Manager Lesley Attu

I found it shocking but unsurprising to learn of the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled employees in the UK following an analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that was based on weighted earnings data from the Annual Population Survey.

In a report entitled ‘Disability pay gaps in the UK: 2018’, the ONS found that the pay gap for disabled employees was 12.2% in 2018. The median pay for non-disabled employees was £12.11 per hour while for disabled employees it was £10.63 per hour. Put another way - for every £1 that a non-disabled employee would earn in 2018, on average a disabled employee would earn 88p.

The following other key points emerge from the ONS report:

  • The pay gap differed according to the type of disability. The gap was widest for those with a mental impairment at 18.6%, whilst workers with a physical impairment suffered a gap of 9.7%. Employees with “other impairments” (such as progressive illnesses) suffered the smallest pay gap at 7.4%;
  • Disabled workers were under-represented, compared with non-disabled employees, in higher skilled and typically higher paying occupation groups. 21.5% of non-disabled employees held “professional occupations” compared to 16.9% of non-disabled employees;
  • London had the largest pay gap at 15.3% and Scotland the narrowest at 8.3%;
  • The gap between female disabled and non-disabled employees was narrower than the gap between male disabled and non-disabled employees (10.1% compared with 11.6%).

The statistics demonstrate a clear disparity between the rate of pay of disabled and non-disabled employees. Disabled employees, in particular disabled employees who are working in the capital and/or suffering a mental impairment, are being disadvantaged. It’s my hope that employers will take steps to address this imbalance to create an inclusive environment that attracts, and retains, hard-working and talented individuals, regardless of any impairments suffered.

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