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The Wednesday midnight (GMT) deadline for private sector companies marks the first time United Kingdom businesses that employ more than 250 people are required to disclose the difference between what they pay men and women.

6,533 employers had published data, of an expected 9,000.

Jack Sealy, which supplies air and power tools, also had a negative gap - its mean average showed women were paid 2% more, though its median favoured men by 3.9%.

The companies are required to disclose mean and median gaps between hourly wages for male and female staff.

Overall a higher proportion of male employees received bonuses - 56 per cent - due to there being more men than women in senior roles and therefore eligible for bonus schemes, the publisher said. The sum for each category is then divided by the number of employees in each gender.

Headed up by Cathy Southgate, Johnston Press Group Financial Controller (with oversight from Chair of the Board, Camilla Rhodes) the Gender Pay Review Group will aim to reduce the gender pay gap within five years by finding solutions to the three main areas of concern - tackling the mean gender pay gap and having more women in management and Senior Management Team roles. The figures reported this year are a snapshot of pay taken in one day last year.

It is the difference between the average salaries of men and women in a given company or public body.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has described the UK's gender pay gap as a "burning injustice" and said that society will remain poorer for as long as it persists.

However it was much better news for a number of companies that came in under the national average.

Particularly telling is the section where companies reveal what percentage of the best and worst-paid members of staff are women.

A source told the Press Gazette: "I think we're making ourselves look like fools and utter hypocrites, especially given all the work we do reporting on gender pay gaps elsewhere and how we make out like we're so pro equality".

Stoke City Football Club, for example, reported a mean gender pay gap of 92.5% - but that figure includes its highly paid male soccer stars.

When the players were discounted, the gender pay pap fell to 8.8 per cent.

Has the pay gap reporting process uncovered any discriminatory practices in relation to pay, which could be a legal equal pay issue?

Of those that have already published data, 78% pay men more than women, while 13% pay women more. The median gap compares the pay of individual male and female employees at the middle of the scales, which helps exclude outliers who are very highly paid. The same is true for senior bankers.

The gender pay gap data requested by the government covers the average pay of men versus the average pay of women, regardless of role, something that Jones says could go further.