Insights

Technology, career pathways and the gender pay gap

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Although the gender pay gap is closing incrementally, pay parity between men and women in the UK is not forecast to be achieved until 2069. Significantly, the gap in starting salary between men and women who have studied STEM subjects and go on to take jobs in those spheres is smaller than in any other subjects studied.

Technology and the changing jobs market

Our analysis of employment data from the last 15 years alongside nearly three million university records finds that women make up just 14.4 per cent of individuals working in STEM occupations in the UK with as many as 70 per cent of women with STEM qualifications not working in relevant industries. Women are more likely than men to pursue studies - and subsequently take up employment - in caring or teaching roles. 

Although these roles are less well paid than technical and commercial roles, they do place greater importance on cognitive and social skills, which we know from other Deloitte research, are essential for workers to remain adaptable and employable in the future. 

Our key findings
  • Although the gender pay gap is closing steadily, we forecast that at the current rate of convergence, pay parity will not be achieved until 2069
  • Overall, almost as many girls as boys sat GCSEs in STEM subjects this year, outperforming them in every subject except maths
  • At A-Level in 2016, 40 per cent more boys than girls took STEM subjects. However, girls continued to outperform boys in every STEM subject
  • Many top-paid jobs increasingly call for ability in STEM subjects
  • Research shows that in the past 15 years, both men and women have benefited from technology-driven changes in the labour market. Moreover, the impact of technology on jobs undertaken by men and women is fairly balanced.

This clear divide in the skills between genders needs to be addressed so that all students - whether male or female and at all stages of their education - are provided with an equal foundations upon which they can build the career of their choice. 

Women in STEM: Technology, career pathways and the gender pay gap

Key actions for businesses

Tackling the gender pay gap, and its root causes, depends upon strengthening the engagement that already exists between businesses, educators and policymakers. In particular, businesses have to take a greater role in helping to reduce the engrained differences in the skills that women gain and develop. 

Our recommendations for businesses:
  1. Provide educators and policymakers with practical careers insight
  2. Provide more support for women returning to work
  3. Publish detailed information on the gender pay gap. 
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