News ID: 206108
Published: 0755 GMT December 13, 2017

Gender pay gap perpetuated by UK teenage girls who want jobs that pay less

Gender pay gap perpetuated by UK teenage girls who want jobs that pay less

The gender pay gap is perpetuated by teenage girls who want jobs that pay less in the UK, a major study has found.

While teenage girls have higher aspirations than boys to attend university, their male counterparts tend to aspire towards professions with bigger salaries, according to research by University College London (UCL)’s Institute for Education, wrote.

Professor Lucinda Platt, one of the authors of the study coauthor, said that the findings highlight the “importance of recognizing the role of both boys’ and girls’ choices in perpetuating labor market inequalities”.

She added that teenagers should be “encouraged and supported to think beyond gender stereotypes” and consider a full range of future career options.

On average, girls thought they had a 71 percent chance of going to university, and 14 percent of girls were certain they would go, researchers found.

Meanwhile, the average expectation of boys was 63 percent, and just under 10 percent were convinced they would get to university.

When asked about their ideal job, the average hourly wage for the occupations that girls aspired to was 27 percent or £6.49 lower than boys.

The research team analyzed data collected from over 7,700 teenagers in the UK who are all part of the Millennium Cohort Study, a study which has followed their lives since they were born at the turn of the century.

When they were 14, the teenagers were asked a series of questions to find out their future aspirations. While the most popular jobs for both boys and girls included some highly-paid careers, the pay among the jobs girls aspired to was, on average, much lower.

This remained the case even after excluding from the calculations aspirations among a number of the boys to be highly-paid professional sportsmen.

For girls, the most popular jobs that they said they aspired to were the medical profession, a secondary school teacher, a singer, the legal profession, a vet, a nurse and a midwife.

For boys, it was a professional sportsman, a software developer, an engineer, the army, an architect and a secondary school teacher.

Both genders tended to favor jobs where the workforce was dominated by their own sex. Boys chose occupations with an average workforce that is 74 percent male, while girls chose jobs where women make up 59 percent of the workforce.

Dr. Sam Parsons, a coauthor, said he was surprised to find such ‘gendered differences’ in young people’s aspirations. He said: “Despite aiming high academically and professionally, girls still appear to be aiming for less well-paid jobs.”

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