Women’s salaries grew faster this year than men’s, and now stand at £11.68 an hour on average, compared to £13.01 for men. The difference last year was 12.2%
Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Services Council, said: "The competitiveness of business depends on the broader talent pool; it is not good business to do otherwise. The decrease shows how hard businesses are working at equality in the work place."
Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy and external affaires at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: ""What business needs now is for the Government to play their part in closing the gap by working with schools and colleges to encourage women to enter traditionally male-dominated industries - giving employers the widest pool of talent to pick from."
The Chartered Institute of Professional Development was less enthusiastic, however. Charles Cotton, their adviser of performance and reward, said: "We should treat the findings with an element of caution. The smaller gap is a reflection of the state of the economy between April 2008 and April 2009, when many men were impacted by pay freezes and cuts. Between these dates, by contrast, women saw their pay rise relatively faster, as they are more likely to be covered by public sector deals or increases linked to the national minimum wage.
"The fear is that this gap could widen as the private sector starts to power ahead in 2011."