Gender pay gap bigger for women with vocational qualifications

Woman working at a supermarket checkout


Young women with vocational qualifications earn 15% less than men with comparable qualifications, according to new analysis published by the TUC.

The analysis of official figures shows that men aged between 22 and 30 with a vocational qualification above GCSE level will earn, on average £10 per hour. But women with the same qualification level will earn only £8.50.

The gender pay gap for young women with vocational qualifications (15%) is nearly a third higher than for young women with academic qualifications (10.5%) and is significantly above the overall gender pay gap (8.5%), says the TUC.

It says one of the main reasons young women earn less than their male peers is because they work predominantly in sectors where pay is poorer.

The analysis shows that in 2015, just one in 40 vocational qualifications in construction were awarded to women. And they received just 10.8% of vocational qualifications in engineering and manufacturing. This contrasts with vocational qualifications in health and care, where women dominate with 63.6% of qualifications.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Young women with vocational qualifications experience a huge gender pay gap.

“Many are still pursuing careers in ‘traditional’ industries that offer lower wages. Whereas in better-paid sectors like engineering and construction they remain a rarity.

“Unless we challenge gender stereotyping and discrimination from the outset, the situation is not going to improve.

“Unions, employers and government must work together to provide better careers advice in schools and to support and improve training opportunities for all young people.”

The TUC wants schools to challenge traditional gender roles at an early stage and for young people to be made aware of the returns from different qualifications and careers. It also recommends mentoring programmes for women in industries in which they are underrepresented.

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