Female British workers earn on average 27% less than their male counterparts, research has suggested. The biggest gap was in London, where men earned an average of �39,022 and women 35% less at �28,833, salary comparison site PayFinder said.
A spokeswoman said: "Women need to be diligent and take the lead in checking that their pay is fair and equal."
PayFinder's figures were compiled from data given to the site by around 40,000 workers between August 2004 and 2005.
In its 2004 report men earned an average 24% more than women.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for 2004 indicated men who had had full-time jobs with the same employer for a year or longer had average gross annual earnings of �24,236. The figure for women was �18,531 - about 24% less. HOW MUCH MORE MEN EARN
East Midlands 32%
South East 32%
North West 30%
South West 30%
East of England 29%
Yorkshire and Humber 26%
West Midlands 24%
North East 19%
Northern Ireland 15% * Based on workers who registered with PayFinder between August 2004 and 2005.
PayFinder spokeswoman CJ Brough said: "Despite the significance to our lives, salaries are a notoriously hush-hush subject.
"Invariably discrepancies in salary are explained via a difference in ability, which in turn is based on skill set and experience."
She described as "nonsense" that gender should be used to determine salary levels.
"Before anyone cites female job choice as a possible cause, PayFinder also shows that regardless of industry and indeed role, men still earn more than women."
She said the report highlighted that sex discrimination "is still rife in the workplace".
However, Ms Brough also pointed to research done by the website in February which suggested that 66% of women were too scared to ask for more money, compared to 24% of men. 'Complex causes'
In March, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) released research claiming women earned 14% less than men partly because they do not have enough maths and science qualifications.
It concluded that schools needed to offer better career advice and girls to aim for higher paid careers.
"The causes of the pay gap are complex...we need more imaginative careers advice for young women so that they set their sights on higher paid jobs," a spokeswoman said.
A week before the CBI report, the government's Women and Work Commission found that, on average, women in full-time work earned 18% less than men.
It said the part-time gender pay gap was 40%.
The commission said the three main issues affecting women's pay were caring responsibilities, part-time working and occupational segregation. BBC News