Just eight of the 25 people earning more than €150,000 at Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland are women, according to figures provided by the two state agencies.

Of the 109 staff members that had pay packages of over €100,000 in both organisations, 42 of them were female, according to data released under Freedom of Information, even though the majority of staff at both Enterprise Ireland and the IDA are women.

Men were, however, much more likely to be among the big earners with female staff outnumbering males only in annual salary brackets of up to €75,000.

At Enterprise Ireland, there are currently 755 staff in Ireland and overseas, which they said equated to 743 full-time equivalent positions.

Of that, just over 57% of the headcount – or 434 staff – were female.

The enterprise support agency said they had 12 earners in the category from €150,000 to €200,000 of whom nine were men and three were women.

A group of three people paid between €125,000 and €150,000, comprised of two women and one man.

Sixty-one different members of staff were paid salaries ranging from €100,000 to €125,000 which included 23 women and 38 men.

Another 264 employees earned between €75,000 and €100,000, of whom 114 were women and 150 were men.

In the salary bracket of €50,000 to €75,000, there were 198 staff – with a gender split of 144 women and 54 men.

And in the category of the 217 employees that were earning below €50,000, 148 of them were women and 69 were men.

Enterprise Ireland said the salary figures they provided were based on a person's true salary relative to how many hours they worked.

"For example, if Employee A is in a salary range of €75,000 to €99,999 but only works part-time at an FTE of 0.5, we have included them in their actual earnings/salary band of €0 to €49,999."

At the IDA, from a workforce of 327 full-time equivalent employees, there are 197 women working with the agency and 130 men, a roughly 60-40 split.

The IDA said it had 13 staff earning between €150,000 and €200,000 of whom eight were men and five were women.

They had no staff in the €125,000 to €150,000 category, according to the breakdown they released.

In the salary bracket between €100,000 and €125,000, there were twenty staff with a relatively even split of 11 men and 9 women.

For those earning €75,000 to €100,000, men outnumbered women with 43 men on salaries in that range and 37 women.

The IDA said that of the 96 staff who were paid between €50,000 and €75,000, 27 were men and 69 were women.

For those on salaries of under €50,000, there were 41 males and 77 females, according to the agency.

Both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland said they had no staff in receipt of salaries of more than €200,000.

Asked about the higher number of female employees in lower-paid positions, a spokeswoman for the IDA said: "All staff, male and female, are paid equally in IDA according to their pay grade, as set down by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

"Female participation at higher salary levels, i.e. >€75,000 is at over 45%. IDA has higher female participation at entry grades. IDA will report on its gender pay gap analysis before the end of the year in line with legislative requirements."

In a statement, Enterprise Ireland said: "Enterprise Ireland is committed to diversity and inclusion across its workforce and has made progress in this area in recent years.

"We will publish our Gender Pay Gap report later this year which will outline further initiatives to positively impact gender pay balance across the agency."

Reporting by Ken Foxe