Female workers in part time employment are now earning more than men in the same jobs, according to a Federation of European Employers (FedEE) analysis of official statistics.

Although gender equality still has a long way to go in most areas of the workplace, the data shows that when it comes to part-time work the traditional trend is reversed, with women taking home 4.8 per cent more in earnings than male part-time workers.

According to the 2011 annual survey of hours and earnings, the gap is due to the earnings of workers in the 22-39 age group.

The figures show that women now earn an average of £8.10 an hour in part-time work compared with £7.67 for men, widening the pay gap from 33p in 2010 to 43p last year.

“This shows how the overall figures for the gender pay gap are highly misleading,” said Robin Chater, secretary-general of the FedEE.

“The size of the gap is largely because a much higher proportion of women work part-time than men and part-time earnings for both genders are lower than for full-time work. Where women compete on equal terms with men – in the part-time jobs market – they actually earn more than men.”

Speaking to the Telegraph, the Fawcett Society suggested that the pay gap could be down to the fact that more part-time roles are in the public sector where women hold a larger proportion of the jobs and where salaries are higher. State employers are also often favoured by women as they provide a more inclusive workplace for women who are juggling the demands of work and family life.

However, while the pay gap is narrowing, in full-time work male workers are still earning 11.7 per cent more than women, with full-time earnings standing at £538 and £440 for men and women respectively.