The Bank of England has defended its efforts to boost diversity despite unveiling a gender pay gap of 21 per cent.

While the Bank’s male and female staff are paid the same, the higher proportion of men in senior positions means there is a gap in the average hourly earnings.

On average, women’s pay trails men’s by 21 per cent, with the median pay gap coming in even higher at 24 per cenr, according to the Bank’s report.

The Bank is facing mounting pressure to shore up diversity, with Chancellor Philip Hammond being accused of dodging MPs’ questions over whether the Treasury is doing everything in its power to ensure an equal balance of men and women in senior roles at the Bank.

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, said: “To support our objectives, we have introduced diversity targets, including to have 35 per cent female representation in senior roles by 2020.

“We’re confident that men and women are paid equally for doing the same job at the Bank; however, the greater proportion of men than women in senior roles creates a gender pay gap.

“We are working hard to address this imbalance through inclusive and diverse recruitment, including diverse shortlists and interview panels, offering flexible working, providing continual unconscious bias training, and fostering an inclusive culture.”

The Bank’s average gap for base pay has fallen over the past four years, from 22 per cent in 2013 to 18.6 per cent this year.

The bonus pay gap stands at 24 per cent, or 26 per cent on a median basis, which picks the middle payment from a range of the highest and lowest payments at the Bank.

It said the number of women receiving a bonus stood at 89 per cent - compared with 87 per cent of men - while the proportion of women in senior roles rose from 20 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent this year.

Joanna Place, the Bank’s chief operating officer, said: “To maintain financial stability for people of the UK we must reflect the diversity of the people we serve.”

“The data published in this report show that there is currently a 21% mean pay gap.

“We have made good progress in building a more diverse and inclusive workplace since first setting targets in 2014 but we recognise we still have more to do, particularly in terms of representation of females in senior roles, which will in turn help address the pay gap.”

The Bank, which recently signed the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter targeting greater diversity, had two female members on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) earlier this year.

Charlotte Hogg replaced outgoing MPC member Minouche Shafik this spring, temporarily keeping two women on the committee. But Ms Hogg failed to declare a conflict of interest, as her brother worked for Barclays, forcing her resignation shortly after her appointment.

Kristin Forbes has since stepped down after completing her own term, leaving recently appointed Silvana Tenreyro the only woman on MPC, while Sir Dave Ramsden filled the other open role.

Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee, said: “As the governor told the Treasury Committee last month, the Bank’s gender pay gap on a median basis is 24%.

“The Bank’s measures to address its pay gap seem to be on the right track, but we cannot be complacent. Any gap is still too great.

“As part of our Women in Finance inquiry, we will keep a close eye on organisations as they report their gender pay gap before the April 2018 deadline.

“We may call for organisations to give evidence to the committee to hear about best practice. Financial firms should be prepared to explain any gender pay gap that they may have.”