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No progress made on closing gender pay gap in 25 years

Ms Costa-Dias said: “Working-age women in the UK are now more educated than their male counterparts and it seems unlikely that we can rely on women becoming more and more educated to close the existing gaps.”

The IFS said that progress could be made with government intervention, arguing that even expensive policies, such as free childcare, would pay for themselves.

The research for the IFS Deaton Review of Inequalities found that women work, on average, eight fewer hours per week, while 84pc of women are in paid work compared to 93pc of men.

Working age women are now five percentage points more likely to have a university degree than men compared to five percentage points less likely in 1995. However, the hourly pay gap between men and women is now bigger for Britons with degrees or A-levels than those with lower education.

Bank of England rate-setter Catherine Mann warned last month that women’s careers risk being left behind after the homeworking revolution. She said home and office workers will be divided on “two tracks”, arguing that being visible in the workplace is “extremely important” for career progress.

However, a poll for the Telegraph revealed that just one in 10 homeworking women plan on making a return to the office despite warnings of their careers suffering.

Almost no progress has been made on closing Britain’s gender pay gap in the last 25 years when accounting for women’s leaps in education, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.

The gap between men and women for the amount earned per hour has narrowed from 24pc in 1995 to 19pc, according to the economic think tank.

However, it revealed that three-quarters of the small fall has been driven by women becoming more educated rather than the wage chasm being closed. The earnings gap has also only narrowed slightly from 20.5pc in 2005. 

The IFS said working-age women earned 40pc less than men in 2019, as they were less likely to be in work, do fewer hours and make less per hour. However, that is 13 percentage points lower than in 1995.

There has been “almost no progress on gender gaps” when accounting for the “rapid improvement in women’s education”, IFS deputy research director Monica Costa-Dias said.

The research suggests little improvement in the pay gulf between men and women amid fears that the pandemic and the shift to homeworking threatens to worsen the problem. Companies with more than 250 staff are required to report their gender pay gap, but a stark divide remains in wages, hours worked and employment.