The average man will have earned £1m by the time he is 51 but for women it takes almost 20 years longer, not achieving seven figures until about their 70th birthday, according to insurance firm Prudential.

Prudential analysed statistics from the Office for National Statistics and drew conclusions based on people earning the average salary for their age. For instance when a man starts out his career between the age of 18-21 he will typically earn about £10,826, while for women this is £8,033.

This divide in wage value tends to widen over our lifetimes: women aged between 30 and 39 on average earn £23,075, while a man of the same age pulls in an average wage of £34,500.

The average women over the age of 60 will earn around £14,985 and a man's salary will be around £27,775.

By the time the average worker has earned their first million, they will have paid approximately £123,300 in tax and £93,200 in National Insurance, a total of £216,500.

Stan Russell, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: "Being a millionaire is a dream for most of us, but the reality is that the average UK employee will easily earn £1million in a lifetime of work."

Prudential was using the figures to highlight the need to adequately prepare for retirement. While we are mostly capable of earing the talismanic sum of £1m over our lives, "life tends to get in the way and it is not as simple as recommending that workers should set aside a fixed amount of their lifetime income," said Russell.

But more lapel-grabbing is the clear extent of the gap in pay because of gender.