Women will be given the right to find out if male colleagues with similar work experience are being paid more than them, as the government steps up its action to close the gender pay gap.
Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt also said that new reporting requirements for larger companies would include how they train, develop and recruit staff.
Firms could be taken to an employment tribunal if they refuse to comply with the employment law changes, which are in response to a report by the government's advisor on equal pay, Denise Kingsmill.
Companies with strong gender equality policies can save thousands of pounds a year in recruitment and staff absence costs, according to a new report, but the message is still failing to get through to the IT industry.
The report from Opportunity Now, published to mark the 10th anniversary of its campaign to promote the business benefits of gender equality, stresses that the introduction of policies including flexible working and telecommuting can help businesses win the war for talent, improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
Judith Cherry, Opportunity Now's research manager, and the report's author, said: "More and more companies are realising that equality is the competitive advantage.
"People in the knowledge economy are the product. At the same time employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find good people. There's a real war for talent and yet women are an untapped resource.
"IT employers in particular have tremendous potential for working in different ways and developing new workplace cultures, but that potential hasn't been realised."
Meanwhile, the Industrial Society is warning that moves to redress gender pay gaps have stalled because many employers use previous salary history to pay women less.
The Society is urging employers to consider how they use job applicants' previous pay details when negotiating terms and conditions.
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