WOMEN working in Bournemouth are paid nearly 19 per cent less per hour than men. And the older you are, the worse it is, official figures have revealed.

The gender pay gap for full-time workers in Bournemouth has widened considerably, standing at 18.6 per cent hourly, compared to 13.3 per cent in 2018, Office for National Statistics data shows.

The stats reveal that if you're a woman you'll take home - on average - £7,054 less than the average man's salary of £33,537 and earn an average annual salary of £26,483.

They also reveal that nearly half the female workforce is employed part-time.

The average pay figures, for workers who live in Bournemouth are calculated using a median, rather than mean, average, to stop them being skewed by particularly small or large pay packets said the ONS.

Across the UK male workers in full-time jobs now earn 8.9 per cent more than their female counterparts. This represents a slight rise from 8.6 per cent last year, the first increase in six years.

But ONS statistician Roger Smith said the national increase was not "statistically significant", adding it is too early to say if it marks a change in trend.

"We also saw an increase in 2013 followed by a return to downward trend in subsequent years," he added.

"However, the downward trend is a slow one regardless."

For people aged under 40, the wage gap for full-time employees is now "close to zero", the ONS said.

Yet it widens among 40 to 49 year olds to 11.4 per cent, stretching to more than 15 per cent among 50 to 59 year olds and those over 60 – a difference that is, said ONS; "not declining strongly over time".

The ONS attributes this to older women being "more likely" to work in lower-paid jobs than younger ones, and less likely to fill managerial roles.

In Bournemouth, the difference in pay between male and female workers, including those in part-time jobs, decreased from 17.6 per cent in 2018 to 17.1 per cent this year.

This divide can partly be explained by the number of women working part-time. An estimated 29,000 women in Bournemouth were in part-time work last year, around 48 per cent of the female workforce. Of the 72,000 working men, 10,000, 15 per cent, were in part-time work.

Nationally, the average gender pay gap is 17.3% across all work patterns.

Gender equality charity the Fawcett Society said that progress on closing the gender pay gap was "dismally slow", adding that it would take 60 years to accomplish at the current rate.

Chief executive Sam Smethers said: "Too many women are trapped in low paid part-time work or locked out of non-traditional sectors while others experience pay or pregnancy discrimination."

Equality and Human Rights Commission chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath added: "As we enter the third year of reporting, the attention really needs to shift to action.

"It should be mandatory for employers to publish, alongside their pay gap data, plans with specific targets and deadlines."