By Max Clarke

Official figures released by the Office of National Statistics show the gender pay gap has narrowed as women have seen bigger pay increases in 2010. The gap between men and women's median pay shrunk to a 10.2% gap- the closest since figures started in 1997.

Liz Field the CEO at the Financial Services Skills Council- a body campaigning for a greater level of diversity in the work place- comments:

"We encourage employers to recruit from the entire talent pool and such talent needs to be suitably and equally rewarded. The competitiveness of business depends on the broader talent pool; it is not good business to do otherwise. I am very pleased to hear that gender pay difference is narrowing. The decrease shows how hard businesses are working at equality in the work place."

While this certainly is positive news, the CIPD’s Adviser on Performance and Reward, Charles Cotton, however, encourages that this statistic ‘be treated with caution’, as it has likely been skewed by the recent economic downturn, and might not represent as great a change as it suggests.