International Women’s Day: gender pay gap is even wider among apprentices

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 08 Mar 2016

Female apprentices earn over a pound less per hour than their male counterparts. 


The gender pay gap for full-time workers in the UK is 13.9%, but it is even higher among apprentices, research shows.

Commissioned by the Young Women’s Trust, the research shows that female apprentices earn, on average, just £4.82 an hour compared with £5.85 an hour for male apprentices.

Almost a quarter (23%) of female apprentices said they received no training outside of work, compared to 12% of male apprentices.

Prospects after their programmes are lower for female apprentices too: after completing their apprenticeships, 16% of women were out of work, compared to 6% of men.

The overall pay gap for full-time workers in the UK is 13.9%; it has been closing but progress has stalled. At the current rate of progress (2010 -2015) it will take over 50 years to close the gap for full time workers.

The gap varies across age groups – it is at its lowest for women in their twenties (1.3%) and opens up significantly for women in their fifties (19.7%). However, Warwick University research shows male graduates consistently earning more than female graduates in the same jobs (£24-27K vs £21-24K).

The pay gap also differs across sectors of the economy. For example it is over 20% in the skilled trades and less than 5.1% for those working in sales and customer service.

“To realise the Prime Minister’s commitment to ‘close the pay gap in a generation’ we need a game changer (…) the requirement for companies with over 250 employees to publish both their mean and median pay gap is very welcome although we are concerned that companies will not have to publish their methodology so it will not be clear how they arrived at this figure.

“We are also particularly pleased that companies will need to show how many women and men work in each income quartile and reveal the gap in bonuses – issue that might be hidden in single average figures.

"Simply reporting the gap is not enough. We’ve got to get serious about addressing the causes. A commitment to increase women taking STEM subjects at A-Level is welcome.

“But to reap the benefits of investing in girls’ education we need to make sure the workplaces they go into are compatible with balancing work and care and actively promote female talent.”


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