Three million disabled workers earn less than £15 an hour, TUC analysis shows

  • 07 Dec 2022

NUJ says news industry needs to provide more data on disabled workers

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of disabled workers earn less than £15 an hour, according to an analysis of official statistics published by the TUC.

The TUC’s analysis of Labour Force Survey shows that 89 per cent of those working in arts, entertainment and recreation are paid less than UK median wage of £15 an hour. The representation of disabled people on and off the screen remains poor, especially in senior roles.

The analysis, published as part of Disability History Month, revealed that 3.09 million disabled workers in the UK were paid under the median wage of around £15 an hour. Around half (54%) of non-disabled workers were paid less than this amount. The TUC said that the new increase in the minimum wage announced by the Chancellor in the autumn statement does not go anywhere near far enough in lifting workers out of poverty. 

Not only are disabled workers paid less than non-disabled workers, they are also more likely to be excluded from the job market. Disabled workers are now twice as likely as non-disabled workers to be unemployed (6.8% compared to 3.4%).   

In November, the TUC published analysis showing that the pay gap between non-disabled and disabled workers has widened and is now 17.2 per cent or £3,700 a year. 

Natasha Hirst, NUJ vice president and NEC disabled members’ rep, said:

“We lack detailed information on the disability pay gap within journalism and other communications roles, and the pay gap experienced by freelances. It is clear that employers in the industry do not do enough to create accessible and inclusive working environments. The failure to support the progression of disabled people in the industry must also be addressed. Glossy initiatives for new entrants in journalism will make no long-term difference if there is nowhere to go afterwards.

“The NUJ freelance rate for the job collects diversity data which we hope will build a picture on freelance pay gaps. We encourage freelance members to submit their rates, in confidence, and to let us know about the barriers they experience in their work.”

Ann Galpin, chair of the NUJ Disabled Members’ Council and co-chair of the TUC Disabled Workers Committee said:

“We support the TUC’s calls to raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible and bring in mandatory pay gap reporting for all employers with over 50 employees. We also call on employers across journalism and the creative industries to put the social model at the heart of their work to remove barriers to access and inclusion in their commissioning process and working environments.”

The TUC's new findings on disabled people's pay will be discussed at the Disabled workers and the cost-of-living crisis webinar on Monday 12 December 6-7pm.

Deep dive into representation of disabled people in UK television: Creative Diversity Network.

Return to listing