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26 October 2016, 15:45
The gender pay gap has fallen in Scotland over the last year, new figures show.
The official statistics reveal a drop in the difference between men and women's median hourly earnings for full-time work from 7.7% in 2015 to 6.2% in 2016.
The UK-wide gender pay gap has also reduced, but the decline is smaller, falling from 9.6% in 2015 to 9.4% in 2016.
The Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings also shows Scotland has the third highest median gross weekly full-time earnings for females at #482.60, after London (£609.50) and the South East (£497.80).
After inflation, gross median weekly earnings for full-time employees in Scotland increased by 1.2% over the year, from #528.60 in 2015 to #535 in 2016.
Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn welcomed the figures as he announced a new scheme to help retrain women who have taken career breaks and get them back into work.
The Scottish Government has given almost £50,000 to Equate Scotland for its Women Returners Project, which will provide 40 women with support to re-enter the labour market.
The training will focus on placements in life sciences, digital skills and engineering.
Mr Hepburn said: "These latest figures show we are making some progress to narrow the gender pay gap in Scotland, and in comparison to the UK we are leading the way in gender and pay equality in the workplace.
"We are also committed to taking action to remove the barriers that women can face when it comes to finding work, advancing their career and increasing their earning potential.
"This funding for the Women Returners Project will encourage women to re-enter employment and encourage them to regain the confidence and skills they may have lost during career breaks when they have had time away from the workplace.
"While Scotland continues to outperform the UK as a whole on female employment and is making inroads on tackling the gender pay gap, there is still more to do.''
Talat Yaqoob, director of Equate Scotland, said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Government is investing in our original pilot and we know this will make a difference to women and Scotland's economy.
"We look forward to working with the minister and science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries in Scotland over the next year.''