A study by a recruitment firm has found that female workers earn less than their male counterparts.

The study by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley found that on average women earn 20% or €12,500 less than men.

The salary data of more than 5,500 professionals across a number of sectors was gathered as part of the survey.

Morgan McKinley found that the gender pay gap widens with the number of years of experience that women have.

Women with 0-5 years experience earn 12% less, while women with 15 years plus earn as much as 28% less than their male counterparts. 

The survey found that the financial services sector has the highest pay gap at 29%, while the technology and professional services sectors have the lowest gap, at between 3% and 8%.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Director of International Investment at Morgan McKinley Trayc Keevans called for a "gender-blind" approach to recruitment to counteract the ongoing pay gap.

She said the survey shows that women earn 20% less than their male counterparts "for doing exactly the same work" in both the private and public sector, but predominantly in the private sector.

Ms Keevans suggested that promoting women to follow STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers and taking a "gender-blind" approach to CVs are some measures that could make the workplace more balanced.

More companies needed family-friendly work practices, she added.

She said the survey showed that technology and technical services are most closely aligned on pay as these sectors have been proactively addressing the pay gap.

Ms Keevans said the most surprising aspect of the survey was finding that the more qualified a woman is, and the more years experience she has, the wider the pay gap becomes.

National Women's Council of Ireland Orla O'Connor said "The report also clearly highlights how the low proportion of women in senior managerial positions impacts on the gender pay gap.

"For women who make it to senior executive level, they are paid almost the same as men. The problem is that 38% of professionals with 15 plus years' of experience are women versus 62% are men.

"Without a doubt, the fact that Ireland has among the highest childcare costs in Europe has an impact on women being forced out of the workforce, contributing to far higher number of men in senior positions.

"We see this clearly in families where there is more than two children, and there is a significant difference in women's employment participation."