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Men's life earnings reach £1 million 19 years before women's

The pay gap between men and women has been closing - and at 9.4 per cent, or around £100 a week, achieved its narrowest level at the end of last year since official records began in 1997.

Single-figure percentages may not sound much, but new research has laid bare the extent to which small differences equate to large numbers when applied over a working life.

The average woman will be almost 70 years old before she earns £1 million in total wages over the length of her career, but a man will achieve the same milestone before his 51st birthday, according to analysis of official figures by Prudential.

Right direction

It may take the average woman almost 19 more years of work than the average man to earn £1 million in total, but Prudential said the numbers were moving 'in the right direction'.

When the same research was carried out in 2012, the average woman would be halfway through her 73rd year before banking her first million.

The statistics were also broken down by sector. Workers in finance were the fastest to earn a million, in 41 years, and those in accommodation and food service industries the slowest at 94 years.

Traditionally male occupations, such as mining, energy and construction, were found towards the top of the list, but ones more associated with females, such as social work, education and administration, were found in the bottom half.

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Men and women doing equal work or work rated as of equal value are entitled to equal pay.

Acas can visit your organisation and help you to avoid using a discriminatory pay system; see Pay and reward: how Acas can help.

Acas also provides training in issues surrounding Equal pay, including how to approach Job evaluation, Flexible working and Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010.

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