The Disability Employment Gap

A photograph of a smartly dressed woman in a wheelchair

In 2020 the employment gap for people with a disability was 53.7% compared to 82.0% for people without a disability. 

The employment gap between people with and without a disability is distinct. With not only an employment gap but also a pay gap: in 2020, workers without a disability made on average £2.10 more per hour than their colleagues with a disability.

Consistent, stable employment is essential to poverty reduction, and persistent worklessness can be caused by, and in turn contribute to inequality and reduced opportunities. Inconsistent, unstable work can also have a negative impact on health and well-being. With economic uncertainty causing mental and physical strain. Inversely, stable, consistent work in which a person feels like a valued and respected member of a wider organisation or team, can have positive impacts on mental health, and a workplace that takes reasonable adjustments to meet physical demands can positively affect physical well-being.

Current government policy aims to get 1 million more people with disabilities into work by 2027

There are several complex factors at play that impact the figures representing the disability gap, including trends in self-reporting health conditions, an increase in disclosures of mental health conditions and general changes in population wide unemployment. However, some key factors contribute to the trends in employment and pay gaps for people with disabilities.

A higher proportion of disabled people work part-time jobs than non-disabled people. These jobs often have lower wages and are less secure than full time employment.

People with disabilities are over-represented in low-paid work, such as care, leisure, sales and customer services and are under-represented in senior roles.

Unlawful discrimination and social stigma produce the conditions that force people with disabilities into low-paid and insecure work. In some cases, a failure to make reasonable adjustments can mean a person’s health worsens, reducing their capacity to stay in long-term stable employment.

It is essential for employers to identify the gaps in their current practices and take deliberate action to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access stable and secure employment.

Under the Equality Act 2010 you must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate people with disabilities.

If you are interested in learning more about the Equality Act 2010 or how to create positive working environments for all your employees, our FREDIE The Basics E-Learning course gives a concise overview of the principles of Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement.

For a more in-depth structural approach to embedding FREDIE throughout your organisation, please contact us to learn more about our Investors in Diversity accreditation process.

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