A new panel has been set up by the government to examine inequality in the workplace between now and the end of next year.

The National Equality Panel will investigate how the career prospects of employees are affected by their gender, age, race and any disabilities they may have.

It will also look at socioeconomic factors such as wealth, area of residence and family background to determine how much of an impact they have on people’s life chances.

As well as highlighting present-day problems, the panel will also take a retrospective view at how equality has improved over the last ten years.

This will allow it to identify areas where further work is needed to narrow equality gaps and create fairer workplaces.

"Equality matters more than ever and it is necessary for individuals, a peaceful society and a strong economy," said Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality.

According to a new survey by CareerBuilder.co.uk, almost a third of female workers in the UK believe they are paid less than male colleagues who have the same skills and experience.