Just two women applied to become the next governor of the Bank of England, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

This is in spite of the fact that Philip Hammond appointed a head-hunting firm that specialises in diversity to conduct the hiring search.

The recruitment process began nine months prior to former governor, Mark Carney, stepping down on 31 January 2020.

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However, the Guardian has found that out of the 23 applicants, 21 were male, with Andrew Bailey ultimately successful and due to start on 16 March.

The publication also found that both female applicants made the shortlist for the role alongside seven men who had applied.

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “Our aim was always to appoint the best possible candidate, which is what we have done.

"And it was right to take steps to run as open a recruitment process as possible. We will continue to support that agenda in the future.”

The news comes after it was reported that the gender pay gap for full-time workers in the UK has increased.

In October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that women working full-time are paid 8.9 per cent less than men, up from 8.6 per cent in 2018.

The difference in older age groups is partly a result of women being underrepresented in high-paying management positions, and more likely to be found in part-time roles, the ONS said at the time.

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