According to a survey published last week by the Chartered Management Institute, a “mid-life pay crisis” is hitting female managers, with women aged 40-plus earning 34 per cent less than men.

To earn the same as a male manager over her career, a woman would have to work the equivalent of over 14 years more - which, based on a pension age of 65, would mean working until nearly 80.

The survey, which covered over 68,000 professional UK workers, found a gender pay gap that hits professional women hardest in the second half of their working lives. The monetary value of the pay gap between men and women aged between 45 and 60 stands at £16,680 per year. When the average across all age bands is taken into account, the average male salary is £9,069 greater than the annual female takings of £39,461 - a 23 per cent difference.

The average bonus for a female director stands at £41,956, while a man in a similar role receives £53,010. When bonus payments are added to basic pay, male directors take home £204,373 – compared to £171,945 for women.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014, tribunals will have to order an employer who has been found to have committed an equal pay breach to carry out an audit.

There are however, a number of exceptions. Employers do not have to carry out an audit if:

they completed one in the previous three years (as long as it meets the requirements set out in the regulations)

  • it is clear without an audit whether any action is required to avoid breaches from continuing
  • there is no reason for the tribunal to think there may be other breaches
  • the disadvantages of the audit outweigh the potential benefits
  • they employ fewer than 10 employees

Jo Seery at Thompsons Solicitors said: “Unequal pay has been unlawful since the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and it remains to be seen whether the power being given to tribunals in October this year to order pay audits will make any difference”.