gender pay gap
Theresa May address the gender pay gap figures ahead of Wednesday's deadline.

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to tackle the “burning injustice” of the gender pay gap.

In a piece in the Telegraph, Prime Minister May emphasised the importance of tackling gender parity with regards to wages.

Writing on the issue: “It is essential that we do so. Most importantly, because equality for women is a right, and our whole society is the poorer as long as it remains unrealised.”

The government introduced new legislation that requires businesses with a staff of 250 or more to report average gender pay gap figures.

This marks the first year in which businesses will be bound by the government regulation.

Theresa May’s article comes ahead of Wednesday’s midnight deadline, which applies to some 9,000 firms across the U.K.

This comes amid last week’s warnings from the The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that businesses which failed to publish figures on time would face “unlimited fines”. 

Thus far, around 8,870 companies have submitted their figures.

According to the data released so far, 78 per cent pay men more than their female counterparts, while 13 per cent reported to pay women more.

Only 8 per cent reported no discrepancy in pay according to gender. These included several high street brands such as Matalan, Starbucks, KFC, Primark, Costa, and McDonald’s.

Conversely, Ryanair reported a 71.8 per cent gender pay gap, the worst among the aviation industry, and one of the largest overall.

The finance industry continued to report large gender pay gaps, with Barclays (LON:BARC) and Lloyds Bank (LON:LLOY) among the worst offenders.

This is largely due to the lack of women in senior roles – only 6 per cent of chief executives of financial services firms are women.

The Treasury has set up a Women in Finance inquiry to look into the barriers that face women entering the world of finance.

Nevertheless, the construction sector dominated figures with the largest recorded median hour pay gap according to industry.