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high quality apprentices would address these problems, this response will be less effective than it might be so long as outdated perceptions of work roles limit apprenticeship horizons.”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.”

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Application Support Engineer – 6 month FTC – West Sussex - £26k-£28k pro rata

£26000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?