Putting more women in 'male' apprenticeships could bridge the gender pay gap

Some 83 per cent of apprentices in health and social care are female, 91 per cent in childcare, and 93 per cent in hairdressing

POLITICAL EDITOR

The gender pay gap could be closed significantly if more women were encouraged to take up apprenticeships in traditional “male” sectors such as building, engineering and computing, research by a leading think tank has found.

Comparing the full-time pay of staff in industries with a high proportion of male apprentices such as science and construction with those dominated by women –  health and social care, childcare and hairdressing, for example – reveals a pay gap of £8,400, the research by Demos found.

The think tank argued that encouraging young women into under-represented sectors would contribute to bridging the pay gap across all types of work.

Demos has launched a cross-party Commission on Apprenticeships, jointly chaired by Labour peer Lord Glasman and Conservative MP Robert Halfon, to investigate how the pay and career prospects of men and women can be improved through trainee work.

Some 83 per cent of apprentices in health and social care are female, 91 per cent in childcare, and 93 per cent in hairdressing. Official data reveals that the average full-time salary in these sectors is £21,200. In sectors with the highest rates of male apprentices, such as construction, where 2 per cent of trainees are women, engineering, with 3 per cent of female apprentices, and IT and telecoms, with 10 per cent, the average salary is £29,600 a year.

Demos researcher Jonathan Todd said: “Our analysis reveals that women are significantly more likely to take apprenticeships in low-paid sectors. These concentrations reflect long-established perceptions of male and female employment. The sooner we can challenge this ... the better.

Women need to be encouraged into taking up apprenticeships in traditional “male” sectors such as building Women need to be encouraged into taking up apprenticeships in traditional “male” sectors such as building “The UK economy struggles with high youth unemployment and low productivity. While increasing high quality apprentices would address these problems, this response will be less effective than it might be so long as outdated perceptions of work roles limit apprenticeship horizons.”

Danielle Calvert, 18, from Royston, Hertfordshire, is in the second year of a mechanical-engineering apprenticeship at MBDA, a missiles-systems company based in Stevenage. Some 10 of the 23 engineering apprentices there are women. She said: “Being on an apprenticeship means you can get the qualifications but also learn from others who have been in the company for years. I looked at other options – such as A-levels or joining the Navy – but they didn’t allow me to have the balance of qualifications and work. To get this balance an apprenticeship, with the guarantee of a full-time position on completion with a salary and no debt, was the perfect option.

“Within MBDA more and more females are being hired. Opportunities are endless. I’ve had the chance to go into schools and share my experiences to help inspire the next generation of engineers. I’ve also gone to Portsmouth to work on Type 45 destroyers, doing maintenance checks.

“We need more engineers and more females to come forward. It’s always being said in the media that not enough women sit on boards of directors in FTSE 100 companies, and that by 2020 it needs to be 20 per cent – but even that sounds small to me.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence