Northern Ireland has the worst gender pay gap in the UK, according to a survey released today.
New figures from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows the average salary for female executives here was £25,580, with male peers paid an average of £39,373 a year.
The 2011 National Management Salary data shows women are on average £13,793 worse off than their male counterparts, compared to an average gender pay gap of £10,546 for the whole of the UK.
Tanya Kennedy, workplace director at Business in the Community, said the figures were not surprising.
"Unfortunately the relative labour market position of women and men still reflects factors including discrimination, career interruptions and the decisions that women, in particular, make in balancing work and caring responsibilities.
"Sadly, employers still lack innovation when it comes to attracting, developing and keeping talented women on board and encouraging them to reach board-level positions.
"This is astonishing given the growing evidence base that proves that having a better balance of women at executive and senior levels positively impacts both a company's culture and decision making capability."
Ms Kennedy said the organisation's Opportunity Now campaign aimed to share best practice from companies in order to create diverse workforces which attract and encourage women.
"With women making up 47% of Northern Ireland's working population, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee instead of perpetuating a business culture where women are still serving the tea," she added.
CMI's Ireland business manager, Stanley Wallace, said: "We need the Government to scrutinise organisational pay, demand more transparency from companies on pay bandings and publicly expose organisations found guilty of fuelling the gender pay gap."
Tom Doran, metering manager at Northern Ireland Electricity and a CMI Ambassador, said: "Times are tough for organisations and if business leaders don't pay their employees fairly they are likely to lose their most talented staff.
"Female employees must be remunerated for their hard work as much as men are, or employers won't recruit or retain some of their best employees."