Man are being hit harder during the downturn than women, new figures have revealed.
Last year, men in most areas of Sussex saw their wage packets slashed while, on average, women enjoyed modest rises.
Business leaders welcomed news the pay gap was narrowing, but said both sexes were ultimately losing out.
In Brighton and Hove, the median wage for men fell 4.3% to £28,594, while the equivalent for women rose almost half a per cent to £27,080.
Tony Mernagh, chief executive of the city’s economic partnership, said the figures showed “a disparity” between the types of jobs held by men and women.
He said: “This is about full- time or part-time jobs.
“There are more women working in part-time work so there’s much less scope to reduce their wages.
“But for men working in full-time jobs, there’s much more chance that their wages might be reduced.
“Of course, even the modest wage increase for women is still far below the rate of inflation, so they are still worse off.”
'Roles on the wane'
Wendy Bell, manager of Sussex Enterprise, the county’s chamber of commerce, said the figures showed “traditionally male-dominated roles” were on the wane.
She said: “There’s always been a gap between men and women but we’re probably seeing a bit more of a levelling out. Some of the higher level roles usually held by men just aren’t available any more – there are far fewer managers.
“That’s probably why men’s wages are reducing on average.”
The statistics also showed that the difference between what men and women are paid in Sussex was far below the national average.
In 2012, the gender pay gap in the county stood at just 5.3%, compared to 20% nationally.
Wendy Bell said: “The pay gap is small because Brighton and Sussex as a whole has always been at the forefront of modern business.
“In this county, 85% of businesses are single traders. We don’t have as many huge conglomerates with traditionally male-dominated hierarchies.
“The fact that the gender gap is so small here is extremely positive.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Teenager arrested on suspicion of raping girl, 16, near cricket ground
- Royal Marine to finally leave prison after murder conviction quashed
- Driver of light-coloured estate car could hold vital clues to serious crash
- All change at the top as new chairman announced for West Pier
- Dog attacker let go by police but could still face RSPCA prosecution