Disabled employees are paid 12.2% less than their non-disabled colleagues, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This pay gap has narrowed slightly, down from 12.7% in 2017.
The government’s data shows that the median pay for non-disabled workers in 2018 was £12.11 an hour, compared with £10.63 for those with disabilities. This is most defined in London, where the pay gap is 15.3%. In Scotland it is 8.3%.
The disability pay gap was wider for men than for women, according to the ONS, although women were more likely to be disabled than men – at 21.1% and 16.6% respectively. This was largely driven by higher employment rates for non-disabled men compared with non-disabled women.
Only half (50.9%) of disabled people aged 16 to 64 were employed in 2018, the ONS said, while 80.7% of non-disabled people had jobs.
Likewise, disabled people were more likely to be economically inactive than non-disabled people – 44.3% of disabled people described themselves this way, meaning they cannot seek work because they are sick, have caring responsibilities, are retired or are students.
Of the disabled people who were economically inactive, 57.2% said this was because of their disability, while 39.1% were students.
Of disabled people with a mental impairment, more than half (53.3%) were economically inactive in 2018, the ONS found.
The north-east of England had the highest proportion of disabled people of working age (16 to 64), at 23.7%, while London had the lowest, at 15.3%. The mean age of someone with a disability was also lowest in London compared with the rest of the UK.
The ONS data groups disabilities into a number of categories including mental impairments such as depression, physical impairments and other impairments, for example progressive illnesses such as cancer or multiple sclerosis. In 2018, nearly one in five of the population aged 16 to 64 was disabled.
The pay gap between disabled workers and non-disabled staff also varied with age. It was widest for those in their 30s and 40s, the ONS found, hitting 18.7% in the 30 to 34 age range.
Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said it was encouraging to see a slight narrowing in the disability employment gap, but said there was “still a way to go” to achieve true equality.
She said: “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.”
She added that making reasonable adjustments for disabled staff was often perfectly achievable. “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,” she said.
Disabled people were more likely to be self-employed than non-disabled people, at 15.2% and 13.9% respectively.