A shortage of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs will ensure that the gender pay gap will not be bridged until 2069.
Deloitte research said women should aim for careers in the STEM disciplines where pay is more balanced – but still unequal. If the gap continues to close at an average rate of 2.5p annually, it will continue to exist until 2069.
The research said that it is largely due to the occupational differences across the genders with women making up just 14.4 per cent of the STEM workforce in the UK. Within STEM a gap remains, females earn around eight per cent less than their male counterparts on average.
This is slightly lower than the nine per cent average in place across all other industries, according to the research.
Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, said: "We know that the pay gap is far smaller for those women starting their careers in STEM-related roles; we also know that high-skilled jobs demanding a blend of cognitive, social and technical skills are typically among the most highly paid.
"Therefore, if more women study STEM subjects and pursue related careers they will increase their earnings potential in the early years of their working lives and - should they remain in their careers - the later ones. This in turn should serve to reduce the gender pay gap.