According to a new poll, female apprentices earn 21 per cent less than their male counterparts.
The poll, conducted by ComRes and commissioned by Young Women’s Trust, found that female apprentices earn just £4.82 an hour compared with £5.85 an hour for male apprentices meaning a young woman working 35 hours a week will be £2,000 worse off over the course of a year.
Not only were female apprentices paid less, they also received less on-the-job training. Some 7 per cent said they received no training at work (compared to 4 per cent of young men) and 23 per cent received no training outside of work (compared to 12 per cent of young men).
Fewer job opportunities
This lack of training translates into easier routes towards gaining employment. After completing their apprenticeship, some 16 per cent of women were out of work, compared to 6 per cent of men.
Dr Carole Easton, chief executive at Young Women’s Trust, says this research proves that the gender gap is present from the beginning of someone’s career, rather than appearing at the top of the food chain.
“Apprenticeships often provide young people with a valuable insight into the realities of the workplace and it is incredibly sad that that one of these realities is that many women will be worse off than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap isn’t something that opens up later, or exists only in the boardroom,” she said.
Sector poor pay
One reason proffered for this disparity between gender prospects is that the sectors in which women undertake apprenticeships – such as administration, health care and retail – are likely to be poorly paid.
Dr Easton adds: “It is staggering that in the 21st Century certain employment sectors are hardly welcoming any young women; less than 2 per cent of construction apprentices are female and less than 4 per cent of engineering apprentices. And, according to the same official figures, even in IT & Telecoms the figure only rises to 12 per cent.”
Young Women’s Trust will be campaigning to make a wider range of apprenticeships available to young women. A third of women (33 per cent) told ComRes that if there were a wider range of specialisms available, apprenticeships would be more attractive.
The poll also revealed that young men and women have different priorities when it came to deciding which apprenticeships to undertake. Young men were more likely to focus on whether the apprenticeship could lead to high paying jobs in the future, whilst young women were more concerned with the present and thinking about whether the actual apprenticeship was secure and convenient.
They were also more likely than their male counterparts to mention higher pay for apprentices and flexibility of hours so that they can be combined with caring responsibilities.