Women managers saw their pay rise by 0.5% more than men last year - but it will still be more than 50 years before their salaries are the same as their male counterparts, according to a new study.
The pay of female bosses rose by 2.8% in the last 12 months, but they earned £10,000 less on average than male managers.
At the current rate of progress, women managers will not be paid the same as men for 57 years, said the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
The pay gap even existed at junior management level, with men being paid £1,000-plus more than women executives, according to a survey of more than 43,000 managers in 200 organisations
The difference in pay was worse in companies in the Midlands, while the gap was smaller in the North East, said the report.
Around one in 12 female directors resigned last year, twice as many as men, possibly because of dissatisfaction with pay, said the CMI.
CMI head of policy Petra Wilton said: “Girls born this year will face the probability of working for around 40 years in the shadow of unequal pay. The prospect of continued decades of pay inequality cannot be allowed to become reality.
“We want to see Government take greater steps to enforce pay equality by monitoring organisations more closely and naming and shaming those who fail to pay male and female staff fairly.
“It’s not just Government that needs to act. Competitive businesses need to attract diverse workforces and appeal to the most talented employees.
“To do this, managers and employers need to recruit from a wide talent pool but they cannot expect to attract the UK’s best female talent if they continue to undervalue it.”
Sandra Pollock, of the CMI’s Women in Management network, said: “Four decades have passed since the Equal Pay Act became law, when the pay gap stood at 34% across the board. In many ways, things have progressed, but the fact that such a significant gap still exists means the UK still has some way to go.
“We want to inspire young women to reach the top but how can we possibly expect them to want the top jobs if, despite doing the same role as male colleagues, they will be paid less?”