The gender pay gap in the accommodation and food services industry has fallen 11% over the past decade, compared to 4% nationally, according to a new report by small business advice service Informi.
The report, Closing the Gender Pay Gap: Are small businesses bucking the national trend? was composed by Opinium Research, on behalf of Informi.
It revealed that in 2008 women earned 78p for every £1 a man earned in accommodation and food service - they now earn 89p to every £1.
Since 2008, female hourly pay in accommodation and food services has increased by 19%, while male hourly pay over the same period has increased by just 3% - contributing to a smaller wage gap.
Informi also found that across all small business-dominated industries, including accommodation and food services, the gender pay gap is falling at twice the rate as that of all companies across the UK.
At the current rate, the gender pay gap should be closed by 2034.
Darren Nicholls, product manager for Informi, said: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and this report demonstrates that they are blazing a pathway towards wage equality and helping to eradicate the gender pay gap.
"Small businesses are not shackled by tradition, legacy or bureaucracy in the same manner as many large companies can be. That said, clearly a double digit gap is still far too high. There's a great deal more to be done, with some industries lagging behind others in implementing the necessary changes to ensure that females get just as many opportunities to thrive in their profession of choice.
"The fact that mandatory reporting has been brought in by the Government for larger companies should act as an encouragement for small businesses to consider female progression within their own firms, auditing their own internal data and acting upon their results."
Sophia Morrell, chair of Labour in the City, added: "It is really encouraging to see SMEs leading the charge in the UK on closing the gender pay gap. Legislation can be helpful in pushing us towards equality, but the most forward-thinking companies have already been embedding these principles into their workplaces rather than waiting for regulation to force their hand."
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