The gender pay gap fell to 10.2 per cent in April, down from 12.2 per cent the previous year – the sharpest fall since the measure began in 1997.
Women’s hourly pay increased by 2.6 per cent during the surveyed period, considerably higher than the 0.3 per cent growth in men’s wages, according to the Office for National Statistics.
“In 1997 the gap for full timers was around 17 per cent, and it’s now dropped to around 10 per cent,” said ONS statistician Mark Williams.
For part time work, women’s average weekly wage (£157) is higher than men’s (£142), the report revealed.
Yet only 12.5 per cent of board level positions at FTSE 100 companies are occupied by women.
This week the coalition government scrapped plans to force companies to publish the pay gap between their male and female employees.
Fresh legislation and regulation would not deliver progress, the Equality Strategy said.