Unfinished Business: Why are we still not gender equal in 2017?
Gender differences in the workplace are well-documented with an increasing number of employers adopting a pro-active approach to combat gender biases and offer all employees equal opportunities. However, gender differences still persist, as even from an early age students are aware and respond to these issues. For the last 17 years, Trendence UK has been carrying out Graduate surveys, assessing students' perceptions of the workplace and what they expect from their first employer.
62,814 students from all year groups and across 126 universities took part in the latest Trendence UK Graduate survey and the results revealed intriguing patterns regarding gender differences in terms of how men and women evaluate their achievements and salary expectations. Female students overall have more work experience related and unrelated to their degree and they are more likely to get a First class degree. They also expect to earn significantly less than their Male counterparts. 29% of Female students expect to earn between £19,000 and £21,000 (compared to only 23% of Male students) and only 19% expect to earn more than £25,000 (compared to 26% of their Male respondents). Thus, these divergent expectations are likely to play a role in the workplace, reinforcing the gender pay gap.
Part of the problem relates to the career choices that Male and Female students make and this is closely linked to their subject choices. The Trendence UK School Leaver Survey assessed 12,878 students from Year 7 to Year 13 across all UK regions, focusing on their decision making process that leads them to make career-related decisions. From Year 8 to 10 Female students are considering a wide range of employers from various sectors. The interest for both the Engineering and IT and Tech sector peaks in Year 10, with 10% and 11%, respectively, choosing employers from these sectors. Options are narrowed down consistently and by the time they finish school and then go to university only 4% of Female students choose to study Engineering related degrees and 2.5% IT and Tech. By comparison, by Year 13, 30% of Male student are attracted to the IT and tech sector and 28% to the Engineering one. Thus, gender biases in terms of career-choices arise as early as Year 10 when Female students lock themselves out of STEM related careers.
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1. Students’ perceptions of the workplace are shaped by how employers respond to issues relating to gender equality
2. Female students expect to be paid less than Male students even though they have more work experience and higher academic attainment
3. After Year 10, the percentage of Female students interested in Engineering and IT and Tech related degrees drops consistently