Women more likely to take apprenticeships in low-paid sectors

New research from leading think tank Demos has found that the gender pay gap could be closed significantly if more women were encouraged to take up apprenticeships in sectors traditionally dominated by men.

Demos uncovered a pay gap of £8,400 between staff in industries with a high proportion of male apprentices such as science and IT compared to those dominated by women, such as health and social care.

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.

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quality apprentices would address these problems, this response will be less effective than it might be so long as outdated perceptions of work roles limit apprenticeship horizons.”