Employers across the UK pay their non-disabled staff 12.2% more than those with disabilities, new government data has shown.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the median hourly wage for disabled employees was £10.63 in 2018, lower than the £12.11 paid to their non-disabled counterparts.
The gap was the widest, at 18.6%, for those with mental impairments, which include depression, anxiety, epilepsy and learning difficulties.
A physical impairment led to a 9.7% gap while those with other impairments faced the narrowest gap, at 7.4%. The other impairments include cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis.
London was the region with the highest gap, at 15.3%, between those with and without a disability, while Scotland’s 8.3% gap was the narrowest.
“Too many disabled people continue to face prejudice and struggle to get into employment or to remain in work, and are less likely to progress to senior management roles or to work in professional occupations,” said Dr Jill Miller at human resources association CIPD.
“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. They could also face legal action if they fail to comply with equalities law.”
The study found almost one in five of Britons between 16 and 64 had a disability last year, with the proportion rising from 11.9% among the youngest age group, to 31.4% among 60 to 64-year-olds.
London had the lowest proportion of people with disabilities while the North East had the highest.
Disabled women faced less pay discrimination, at 10.1% versus 11.6% for men.
Women with disabilities were less likely than disabled men to have a job in the first place, the study found, although the employment gap between disabled men and women was much lower than that between non-disabled men and women.
Overall, 80.7% of non-disabled people in the UK are in employment against 50.9% for those with disabilities.
The study found that the disability pay gap has remained broadly unchanged between 2014 and 2018.