A new survey from British Gas has revealed that almost half of young women (48 per cent) do not consider working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) sectors when planning their future careers.
The research involved over 2,000 young people aged between 15 and 22. It found that women are turning their back on these sectors for a variety of reasons, including a lack of STEM knowledge (30 per cent), a perception that the industries are sexist (13 per cent), and a belief that STEM careers are better suited to the opposite sex (9 per cent).
“There are some fantastic opportunities for both women and men in these sectors, so I’m concerned to hear that so many young women are put off by careers in science, technology, engineering and maths,” said Claire Miles, managing director for HomeCare at British Gas.
“With boys already taking advantage of the apprenticeship opportunities available, I would encourage girls to think about engineering. Apprenticeships are a great way into an organisation, and at British Gas they allow you to earn while you learn and develop skills for life.”
Women made up just 4 per cent of applicants for technical and engineering apprenticeship schemes with British Gas last year. The company says it is taking steps to encourage more women into the industry, including hosting open days aimed at women, and launching a new mentoring programme.
Elsewhere, the research also highlighted a gap in salary expectations between young men and women. On average, young women expect to earn £29,880 by the time they are 30, while young men expect to earn £33,251. Women also worried more about their future, with 73 per cent admitting they feared they would struggle to find a job in the future.