New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that in the year to April 2019, the gender pay gap for full-time workers rose to 8.9% – up from 8.6% the previous year.
But for people under 40, the gap for full-time employees was close to zero.
The gender pay gap is the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women.
Responding to the ONS gender pay gap data, Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “It’s right that more women in senior roles are being fairly rewarded, but we need more action to ensure women of all ages receive fair and equal pay at every level.
“Employers must identify and remove all barriers to training and career development opportunities to support women into senior level positions and enable parents and carers to thrive in skilled roles.”
In 2012, the gap between what the average full-time female employee earned compared with the average man was 9.5%. This gap had only narrowed to 8.9% in 2019.
The pay gap for all workers fell from 17.8% in 2018 to 17.3% in 2019, and continues to decline, the ONS said.
Ms Gratton added: “As part of our People Campaign, we are working with businesses to promote flexible working, but we need stronger government initiatives to break down the wider barriers. Ensuring access to quality, affordable childcare, better careers advice for young people, and funding for high quality apprenticeships and technical education would go a long way to helping women across all sectors.
“Naming and shaming employers is a blunt and ineffective instrument. It does not help those who are trying and struggling to recruit women and can deter women from applying.”