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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
UK's pay gap 'wider than thought'
Men are still earning more than women
The gap between the pay of women and men in the UK is wider than previously thought, a report has said.

In 2003, the divide between the average hourly earnings of full time male and female workers was 19.5%, said pay analysts Incomes Data Services (IDS).

This is higher than the 18% figure that had previously been quoted.

Union leaders repeated their demand for firms to hold mandatory pay audits to make sure female workers were not earning less than male colleagues.

IDS added that over the six years to 2003 the pay gap has narrowed by 1.7% rather than the 2% shown in previous estimates.

Transparency call

"These new figures highlight the persistent inequalities both in pay levels and in access to higher-paid managerial and professional jobs," said Sally Brett, assistant editor at IDS.

"They remind us that much still needs to be done to ensure women are paid fairly and treated equitably in the workplace."

Linda McCulloch, national equality officer for the Amicus union, said companies must be made to ensure "fairness and transparency" in staff pay.

A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry said the gender pay gap is now at its lowest since statistical analysis began in 1970.

"These figures just represent a change in the Office for National Statistics' methodology," he said.

"There was an under-representation of managerial jobs and an over-representation of administrative jobs in previous figures."

The spokesman added: "We have set up the Women and Work Commission to bring together the best people and ideas to tackle the problem of the gender pay gap and make specific recommendations to Government."

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