Apprenticeship gender divide revealed in TUC survey

Apprenticeships remain strongly divided along gender lines, new research indicates.

A survey conducted by the TUC found that while more apprenticeship places have opened up for women in general, they still lag far behind their male counterparts in well-paid sectors including engineering and construction.

The report, Still More (Better Paid) Jobs for the Boys, found a fairly even proportion of men and women began apprenticeships in 2006-07, at 54.2% and 45.8% respectively – figures that have remained virtually unchanged since 2002-03.

However, a paltry 1.3% of female apprentices have entered the construction industry, and only 2.5% have gone into engineering.

Women apprenticeships are highest in childcare (91.1%) and hairdressing (91.7%).

Frances O’Grady, TUC deputy general secretary, said: “Too many young women are being limited to apprenticeships in low-paid traditionally female occupations like childcare and hairdressing, and are unable to break into well-paid male occupations like engineering.

“Low pay in apprenticeships happens much along gender lines. Women receive on average 26% less pay than men, so action needs to be taken now to tackle this divide once and for all. Government and, in particular, employers, need to take this seriously and make equality a major priority,” O’Grady said.

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