The gap between the wages of men and women workers at the Scottish Parliament is 11 per cent.

The data was published as MSPs debated the issue at Holyrood, with calls for action to speed up progress on closing the gap.

Based on a snapshot of data from March 31 2016, the Parliament found female employees earn an average salary that is 11.1 per cent less than men co-workers.

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The figure takes in both full-time and part-time staff.

It said the gap was due to employing more women than men in lower grades and more men than women in higher grades, and has set out an action plan to close it to within a "tolerance level" of plus or minus 5 per cent.

The Parliament's leadership group member Susan Duffy said: "We will also take stock of our recruitment practices and examine whether women are properly represented on our internal project boards and management groups."

All charities, private and public sector employers with 250 or more employees will be required to publish details of their gender pay gaps by April 2018.

Holyrood's Economy Committee has urged ministers to develop an ''overarching strategy'' to tackle the pay gap, which it said can vary from 6% to 33 per cent in Scotland depending on how it is measured.

Based on median hourly earnings, figures from 2016 show there was a difference of 6.2 per cent in earnings between male and female full-time workers in Scotland and 15.6 per cent for all employees.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "There is a clear need to make sustainable and cultural change to societal norms to achieve the inclusive growth we want to see.

"This is a long-term commitment, not one we will achieve overnight.

"We need consistent commitment from every part of the system to make this lasting change."

Conservative Dean Lockhart said Scotland was at the "lower end" of the gender pay gap, compared to many European countries.

But he stated more needs to be done to close the gap, and stressed the need to "look beyond the easy solutions" and address the underlying issues.

Labour's Jackie Baillie said: "If we maintain the snail's pace of change that we have just now it will take another 140 years to close the pay gap.

"I'm sorry, I can't wait that long - I won't live that long for a start.

"I am inpatient for change not just for my generation but my daughter's generation and the women who will follow her."

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