In fact, 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 figures from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
Based on analysis of market pay data collected by salary survey specialists XpertHR, the research shows 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.
If this gender pay gap of £10,060 a year is sustained, it means that 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.
Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, commented: “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.”
The figures also revealed that despite a stronger presence in junior roles, women are struggling to progress up the career ladder at the same rate as men.
According to the research, the percentage of women in the executive workforce now stands at 57 per cent.
However, while at junior level the majority (69 per cent) of executive workers are now female, just 40 per cent of department heads are female and only one in four chief executives (24 per cent).
“Allowing these types of gender inequalities to continue is precisely the kind of bad management that we need to stamp out,” said Ms Francke.
“Companies are missing out on the full range of management potential at a time when we need to be doing everything we can to boost economic growth.”