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The average female executive £400,000 poorer over a lifetime than her male counterpart, according to CMI analysis

New figures released today by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) reveal the true extent of the gender pay gap at executive level. The average female executive suffers a lifetime earnings gap of £423,390 when compared to a male worker with an identical career path, according to the research.

With the current gap between male and female average pay at management level standing at £10,060 a year, a woman and a man entering executive roles aged 25 and working their way up the career ladder until retiring aged 60 would take home pre-tax totals of £1,092,940 and £1,516,330 respectively, based on today's levels.

The research reveals that the average male in an executive role earned a basic salary of £40,325 over the 12 months to August 2012, compared to £30,265 for a female in the same type of role. However, more junior female executives actually earn marginally more than their male counterparts - although this is reversed the higher up the ladder they get.

The discrepancy extends to annual rewards, with women typically receiving less than half of what men are rewarded. And whereas 50% of men at director level receive bonuses, only 36% of female directors do.

Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, said: "A lot of businesses have been focused on getting more women on boards but we've still got a lot to do on equal pay and equal representation in top executive roles. Allowing these types of gender inequalities to continue is precisely the kind of bad management that we need to stamp out."

She continued: "We need an immediate and collaborative approach to setting things straight. The Government should demand more transparency from companies on pay, naming and shaming organisations that are perpetuating inequality and celebrating those that achieve gender equality in the executive suite and the executive pay packet."

Dawn Nicholson, HR consulting partner at PwC, called the gap "disturbing". "[It] suggests that women are going backwards versus their male counterparts," she said. "If the career path is identical, then it is hard to see why the differential would exist, let alone how it could be justified."

The nature of the management pipeline is also heavily weighted in favour of men, says the CMI. Currently, while women make up 69% of the junior executive workforce, only 40% of department heads are women, and only 24% of chief executives.

Baroness Prosser, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "The gender pay and opportunities gaps are intrinsically linked. The opportunities gap leads to the lack of advance for women through the executive pipeline and this in turn provides for the gender pay gap. The onus is squarely on employers to redress the balance."

The analysis was conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) of market pay data collected by salary survey specialists XpertHR, which looks at salary and labour turnover data for 38,843 people in executive roles in the UK.