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Gender pay gap ‘set to increase’

The gender pay gap is set to increase for the first time on record, as public sector cuts begin to bite, according to research conducted by pay equality group The Fawcett Society.

According to the organisation, women earn an average 14.9% less than their male counterparts, and the situation could worsen when cuts in the public sector lead to an increase in the number of women working in the private sector, where the pay gap stands at 20.4%.

Meanwhile, a separate survey from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has suggested that the average lifetime earnings of a male company executive could be as much as £423,000 more than those of a female executive in a similar role.

Women also receive lower bonuses, seeing less than half of the average £7,496 received by men, the CMI research shows.

The Fawcett Society has called on the Government to increase pressure on the private sector to help improve pay equality.

Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, said, ‘Pay inequality remains a stubborn obstacle to real fairness in the workplace’.

‘We have implemented measures in the Equality Act to make pay secrecy clauses unlawful and we are taking through legislation which would give tribunals power to order that employers conduct a pay audit where they have been found to discriminate over pay.’

Forthcoming annual figures from the Office for National Statistics are also expected to show a widening of the gender pay gap.