Disability pay gap closing – but too slowly

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International Day of People with Disabilities: Disability pag gap closing but at slow rate

Today (03/12/19) is International Day of Disabled Persons, with research showing that the disability pay gap is narrowing but at a slow rate.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that disabled employees are paid 12.2 per cent less than non-disabled employees, which is down from 12.7 per cent in 2017.

The gap between disabled and non-disabled people in jobs has decreased to a higher extent, however, it is over a longer period. In 2013, 43 per cent of disabled people had jobs, compared to 77 per cent of non-disabled people representing a gap of 34 per cent. This had reduced to a gap of 28 per cent in 2019. With 53 per cent of disabled people in employment in contrast to 82 per cent of non-disabled people.

Tom Hadley, director of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said:

The employment gap falling over the last six years is good news. It shows that employers are moving from good intentions to making a tangible difference on the disability and wider inclusion agenda.

There is still a lot more work needed, and ample opportunity, to close the gap further. Initiatives like the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) and the REC’s Good Recruitment Campaign, supported by nearly 500 businesses, are leading the way in breaking down the barriers that people with disabilities face entering and thriving in the world of work.

Showing businesses practical examples of what works to encourage inclusive recruitment is the right way forward. Recruitment professionals have a pivotal role to play here. 90 per cent of businesses say that what they are looking for from an external recruitment provider is access to expertise.

Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said:

It’s encouraging to see progress has been made on narrowing the disability employment gap, but there is still a way to go to achieve equality of opportunity. 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.

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.

Employers can help to close the disability employment and progression gap by ensuring that line managers are aware of their responsibilities around making reasonable adjustments. These are often perfectly achievable, such as providing flexibility over working patterns.

The ONS data placed disability in to different categories including mental impairments.

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