Increasing the availability of high-quality part-time positions is the key to increasing pay equality in the workplace between men and women, the TUC has said.

Figure show the pay gap between those in permanent and part-time jobs is 36.3 per cent on a per hour basis – a disparity that has barely been reduced in 30 years.

In fact, two fifths of part-time workers in the UK earn less than the living wage of £7.45 an hour, while two in five part-time workers in the capital earn less than the London living wage of £8.55 an hour.

And, with nearly three-quarters of the UK’s eight million part-time workers being women, it is they who are most likely to suffer from this inequality, says the TUC.

It claims that one of the biggest problems is the scarcity of “high-quality” part-time vacancies, illustrated by the fact that the five highest paid occupations – aircraft pilots, chief executives and directors of advertising and PR, marketing, sales and telecommunications firms – are all dominated by men and have very few part-time positions.

In contrast, four of the five worst paid occupations – waiters and waitresses, bar staff, catering assistants and launderers – are dominated by women and have more part-time jobs than full-time ones.

TUC general secretary designate Frances O’Grady argued that an increase in flexible working opportunities in higher ranking positions would help reduce the pay gap between full and part-time workers and in turn narrow the pay gap between men and women.

“Most women become part-time workers to balance work and caring responsibilities. This shouldn’t mean also having to abandon their careers and accept poverty wages,” she said.

“Unfortunately common sense solutions such as senior level job shares and flexible working are rarely available in the private sector, and are now under attack in the public sector. Unless we change the way we work we will never eliminate the pay gap or tackle poverty.”