Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of a consultation on designing new gender pay gap regulations.

"Transparency is the most powerful driver we have for achieving change and this legislation will be good news for women and business alike. It will mean there's no hiding place for employers who don't pay women fairly.

"But businesses should report on more than just average pay rates. Given that the gender pay gap is widest at the top, it is vital that companies track pay across different job levels.

"And, of course, the pay gap isn't the only problem facing women at work, as the lack of women in senior roles is still a huge problem. While we embrace this push for transparency, employers must focus on three things to galvanise wider cultural change when it comes to diversity – data, recruitment and culture.

Business Women (PD)· Data: Setting targets, and collecting and analysing data on employee demographics is essential to developing an action plan – after all 'what gets measured, gets managed'

· Recruitment: Recruiting has to be a demonstrably fair and open process, one which precludes the possibility of candidates being preferred because 'their face fits'. It must encourage women to pursue careers in all fields, like STEM

· Culture change: Businesses must make employees' working environment more inclusive. Flexible working arrangements, greater support for those caring for children or relatives, and mentoring by senior managers – all are fantastic ways to retain and help employees of both sexes

"These measures will help unblock the talent pipeline and deliver real diversity across the next generation of managers and leaders."

According to 2014 gender pay gap data from CMI, professional females earn three-quarters of the pay of their male counterparts – an average gap of £9,069. The pay gap becomes more pronounced with age and seniority. For women aged 45-60 the average pay gap grows to 34% (£16,680).

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