British women in their early 20s are now earning more than men of the same age, according to new research.

The figures show that woman aged between 22 and 29 in employment are earning more on average per hour than men for the first time.

The difference is only slight, with the research showing that woman's median hourly pay is just over £10 an hour compared with just under £10 an hour for men.

The figures were unearthed by Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admission Service, during research into the gender gap in education.

She argued that the figures demonstrate that women's pay is finally beginning to reflect the higher standards achieved by the woman on leaving school and university.

Research by the Higher Education Policy Institute shows that women now not only outnumber men overall at university, but they also outnumber them at every type of university. They are also more likely to get a 2:1 degree pass and are less likely to drop out

"The gender pay gap may take another generation to close as the pay feeds through to the more senior workforce," she said.

A report by the Chartered Management Institute earlier this year disclosed that women managers in their 20s are now earning 2.1 per cent more than man of the same age.

However, across all age groups, women executives are still paid 25 per cent less than men, the study found.