The gender pay gap has fallen by almost 1% to 15.5% based on average earnings of full-time workers, official figures have shown.
The difference in men’s and women’s earnings narrowed from 16.4% after a bigger rise in the hourly earnings of women over the past year, said the Office for National Statistics.
Men’s average hourly pay was £16.25, up by 1.1% from a year ago, while women’s pay increased by 2.2% to £13.73.
On another way of measuring the gender pay gap, the so-called median rate, the difference narrowed from 12.2% to 10.2%, the biggest drop since the measure began in 1997.
The figure is the level at which half of pay falls above and half below and is based on full-timers’ hourly pay rates, excluding overtime.
ONS statistician Mark Williams said: “This year’s results continue the pattern we’ve seen in recent years of the gender pay gap tending to get narrower. In 1997 the gender pay gap in median earnings for full-timers was around 17% and it’s now dropped to around 10%.”
Almost nine out of 10 male workers were full-time compared with 58% of women, while the UK workforce was made up of 12.7 million men and 12.3 million women, the figures for the year to April showed.
Median weekly earnings for all full-time workers were £499, up by 2.1% from the previous year, with men earning £538 compared with £439 for women.
The figure was highest in London at £642 and lowest in Northern Ireland at £441.
Earnings of part-time workers increased by 0.7% to £154, with women earning more than men at £157 compared with £142, said the ONS.