Men working full-time are twice as likely to earn over £50,000 a year as full-time women, according to new TUC analysis of official figures published to mark Equal Pay Day.
The analysis shows that just one in fifteen women working full-time earns over £50,000 a year, compared to one in seven men.
Equal Pay Day marks the point at which women working full-time effectively stop earning as they are paid £5,200 (15.7 per cent) less per year, on average, than men working full-time. But in certain professions the gender pay gap is much wider, says the TUC.
According to the analysis, even in sectors where women are well-represented, such as education and law, they still earn far less than men.
Women working full-time as senior education professionals earn over £13,000 (22.3 per cent) a year less, on average, than their male peers despite dominating the profession.
And full-time female solicitors earn over £10,000 (20.2 per cent) a year less, on average, than their male counterparts, despite outnumbering them too.
The TUC believes the big disparity between men and women earning over £50,000 is clear evidence of a glass ceiling when it comes to well-paid jobs.
The TUC analysis also shows how full-time women are more likely to earn below the UK average salary of £32,300. Seven in ten women earn below this amount, compared to six in ten men.
In addition, women are more likely to be employed on poverty pay. One in four women working full-time earns less than the living wage, compared to one in six men.
Research published last week by the World Economic Forum revealed that the UK has fallen out of the top 20 most gender-equal countries in the world for the first time after women’s incomes fell by £2,700 over the past year.
The UK is now behind Nicaragua, Bulgaria and Burundi for women having an equal chance of a good education, career and health.
The UK’s gender pay gap is even bigger for women working part-time, who earn 34 per cent less per hour, on average, than men working full-time. Equal Pay Day for women working part-time was way back on 28 August.
With women accounting for almost three-quarters of Britain’s six-million strong part-time workforce, the lack of decently paid, part-time jobs affects women’s pay and their career prospects far more than it does men, says the TUC.
The TUC wants employers to be made to carry out regular gender pay audits, publish information on pay gaps and take action to close them.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It is small wonder that Britain is plummeting down the international league tables when it comes to gender equality.
“Four decades on from the Equal Pay Act women are still losing out on pay and career opportunities.
“It feels like the glass ceiling is getting stronger not weaker and we need a much tougher approach to stop future generations of women from suffering this pay penalty. Companies must be held more accountable for how they pay their staff and made to publish information.
“The government must also tackle the problem of poverty pay which is another reason for the gender pay gap. Ministers need to take a serious look at why so many jobs in Britain pay so little when employers can easily afford to pay staff more.”