The existence of a substantial gap in average salary between men and women has long been acknowledged, however recent evidence suggests that the issue could be prevalent before men and women even enter the workplace.
Research conducted by Totaljobs has found that female graduates will apply to jobs with average salaries that are £2,000 lower than male graduates. For example, males will apply for jobs in social sciences that pay on average £26,503, yet the jobs women apply for in the same field will pay £24,585. For jobs in the legal industry, male graduates apply for jobs paying on average £26,895, but female graduates only £25,487.
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The data also shows that more men tend to aim for higher paying jobs than women – 2,874 male graduates applied for jobs in Engineering, one of the highest paying graduate industries, whilst only 561 female graduates did. The trend is followed in construction, planning, and architecture, with 1,181 males to only 330 females applying, and IT, telecommunications, and new media, with 3,733 males to 997 females.
This raises the question of how much males and females are encouraged to pursue high-end careers prior to graduating, and what the next step is to provide female graduates with the incentive to apply for higher paid jobs in their industry.
A poll run by CWJobs has shed light on the state of gender nurturing in the IT and technology industries in particular, highlighting the differences in the levels of interest between the genders, as well as the levels of encouragement they receive.
According to the data, although interest in a career in IT has risen for both men and women over the years (from 48% to 70% of men and from 32% to 48% of women), more men than women show an interest in the industry. 47% of men were uninterested in a career in IT and technology in their school years, dropping to 28% in the present time, whilst 63% of women uninterested dropped only to 50%.
The different levels of interest could be put down to environmental encouragement – the CWJobs poll also showed that more men felt encouraged to enter a career in IT and technology than women, by parents (35% to 25%), other family (25% to 15%), educational guidance (38% to 30%), and society (33% to 24%).
This could suggest that one of the key factors is the example that society sets for women. Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, said: “The more female leaders we have and the more there are women on the boards of businesses operating within the fashion industry, the easier it will be to set aspiration.” This could easily be true of all industries, and therefore the step forward to allow for change and equality may lie in encouraging young females into a variety of careers, regardless of gender stereotypes.