It will be news to no one that there are more men than women at the helm of British companies, but new research shows the shocking extent of this gender disparity.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CEOs are more likely to be called Stephen than they are to be a woman.

An analysis of CEOs at the UK's top 100 companies found that only six of the chief executives were women, while seven were named Steve or Stephen.

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A further six of the CEOs were named either Dave or David.

The research also found that the few female CEOs were getting paid 32 per cent less than their male counterparts.

While women make up 6 per cent of these CEOs, they took home only 4.2 per cent of the total money paid to CEOs last year – £465.4m.

GlaxoSmithKline's Emma Walmsley was the only woman in the list of 25 highest paid CEOs in the FTSE 100.

The study also looked at FTSE 250 companies, and found that of the 250 CEOs, only eight were women.

Government targets state that by 2020, 33 per cent of board members should be women. Of the companies surveyed, only 42 per cent met this goal, yet the majority are in non-executive roles – only 8 per cent of executive board members are women.

The report also highlighted that the average FTSE 100 CEO earns 117 times more than the average UK worker, meaning it takes the average worker one year to earn what a FTSE 100 CEO earns in just three working days.

The CIPD says: “Executive pay is often disconnected from the reward strategy of the wider organisation – and therefore HR teams.

"But there are steps that people professionals can take to think about this issue in a more holistic context and address pay inequality.”

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