Microsoft's female UK staff are paid on average seven per cent less than their male counterparts, the software giant has revealed today.
The government's Gender Pay Gap report legislation, enacted last year, requires all firms with over 250 employees to disclose their pay gaps by next Thursday, 5 April.
Microsoft today revealed that the mean hourly pay of its female staff is 6.55 per cent lower than its male staff. The median figure stands at 8.42 per cent.
That compares favourably with the 17 per cent gender pay gap in the overall UK national workforce, and is significantly lower than the pay discrepancies announced already by some high-profile media outlets such as ITN and Channel 4 (19.6 and 28.6 per cent, respectively).
In its gender pay gap report, Microsoft revealed that 26.5 per cent of its UK workforce are female.
However, that percentage falls to 18.2 per cent for technical roles and 22.9 per cent among its leadership team - despite it having a female UK boss in the form of Cindy Rose (pictured).
The bonuses Microsoft dished out to its female employees last year also trailed those handed to males by 11.22 per cent.
Microsoft picked out having more men in its senior echelons as a "key contributing factor", but also highlighted the worrying lack of females choosing to study IT.
"To be successful in reducing the gender pay gap, we need to acknowledge the industry-wide challenge we face for available skills," the report stated.
"This year, the number of female IT graduates in the UK dropped from 16 per cent in 2016 to 15 per cent in 2017, with a similarly disappointing picture of just 14 per cent female graduates in Engineering and Technology. In 2017, just 10 per cent of the entrants for A-level computing were female.
"This, combined with an industry average of 26 per cent female representation in the technology industry workforce, indicates a clear need to invest further in the future skills, talent and leadership pipeline for our industry."
Microsoft also used the report to highlight its efforts to boost gender diversity. This includes its DigiGirlz programme, which is designed to provide secondary school girls with a better understanding of what a career in technology is all about by inviting them to spend a day at our UK headquarters.
In the report, Rose said that Microsoft "wholly supports the government's focus on gender pay".
"Throughout my career, I've been a passionate advocate for women in the workplace," she said. "This is an issue of critical importance to me and to Microsoft. And, while I'm encouraged by the progress we are making on gender equality and representation, we still have a long way to go. We can always do more, and I feel the urgency to do so."
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