New figures show women are being overlooked for graduate jobs

Women make up almost 60 per cent of all graduates, but take less than 42 per cent of graduate jobs


The gender pay gap has many faces. It is not always a simple case of men and women being paid different salaries for doing the same jobs – it can also mean women being denied certain opportunities, being pointed in the direction of lower-paid jobs from the time they are in school, and being overlooked for promotions and appointments to higher-paid roles.

Analysis of the latest graduate employment statistics, released yesterday, shows that the overall share of female graduates in graduate jobs has not improved over the least five years. According the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), while nearly three in five graduates are women (58.7 per cent), the share of female graduates joining AGR employer programmes only averages 41.6 per cent.

62.8 per cent of AGR firms currently have strategies aimed at improving gender balance but the latest figures have cast doubt on their effectiveness. The findings have dampened the general enthusiasm about the graduate jobs market, which is currently buoyant with graduate employers saying they expect to have 24,126 vacancies in the coming recruiting season, a 13 per cent increase on last year.

Stephen Isherwood, AGR chief executive, said of the statistics:

“Gender diversity is an issue which requires more of our attention… it indicates there is more to be done to attract female graduates who in turn need to make the most of the opportunities available.”

The fact that women appear to be being overlooked for graduate jobs also has implications for the usual justifications given for gender pay gap. Family commitments, caring responsibilities, maternity leave etc are unlikely to be issues for the vast majority of these young women. The imbalance here seems to imply an inherent bias which could be being replicated across the labour market.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward

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