Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Median pay for autistic people last year was a third less than for non-disabled people

Staff with autism as their main impairment had a wider pay gap in 2021 than those with other types of impairment, according to new data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The median pay for autistic people was standing at 33% less than non-disabled employees without a long-lasting health condition.

Those with severe or specific learning difficulties (29.7% less), epilepsy (25.4% less), or mental illness or other nervous disorders (22.1%), also had a large pay gap to non-disabled employees with no long-lasting health conditions.



The data also revealed that the UK’s disability pay gap overall was 13.8% in 2021, narrowing from 14.1% in 2019 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, disabled employees earned £12.10 per hour and non-disabled employees £14.03 per hour, while in 2019, disabled staff earned £10.87 per hour and non-disabled employees £12.66 per hour.

Disability pay gap higher for disabled men than women

The findings also highlighted that the gap has consistently been wider for disabled men than for disabled women, with disabled men’s median pay in 2021 being 12% less than non-disabled men (£13.25 and £15.12 per hour respectively), and median pay for disabled women being 11% less than non-disabled women (£11.51 and £12.86 per hour).

Agata Nowakowska from Skillsoft, a company offering career training and guidance for autistic people, said: “Whilst hiring managers are actively seeking talent from the wider employment pool, they are missing a valuable opportunity. One diverse community is persistently missing from active employment strategies – candidates with disabilities. It’s no hidden fact that it’s simply harder for these workers to ‘find’ jobs – and it’s often a case of jobs needing to access them.

“Although some candidates are actively sought through schemes at university level, standard recruitment practices continue to disadvantage candidates with disabilities, and many face stigma and exclusion by organisations for roles which could perfectly accommodate their skills.”



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