|Level||Number of students - male||Number of students - female|
|Key Stage 2: Level 4 or above in English and maths||150,994||157,557|
|Five GCSEs grade A*-C, including English and Maths||177,475||192,314|
|2 A-level passes||164,227||185,643|
|Obtained first undergraduate degree 2:2 or above||136,445||182,075|
|Obtained postgraduate degree or equivalent||57,690||81,015|
Source: Department for Education 2010/11 and Higher Education Statistics Agency 2010/11
|Subject area||Median gross weekly earnings of graduates||Gender percentage - women||Gender percentage - men|
|Medicine and dentistry||£865||52%||48%|
|Engineering and technologies||£769||86%||14%|
|Architecture, building and planning||£712||26%||74%|
|Maths and computer science||£673||71%||29%|
|Business and administrative||£615||56%||44%|
|Linguistics and classics||£577||72%||28%|
|Biological sciences, veterinary and agriculture||£538||49%||51%|
|Historical and philosophical||£481||59%||41%|
|Subjects aligned to medicine||£462||14%||86%|
|Creative arts and design||£462||61%||39%|
|Mass communications and documentation||£423||43%||57%|
|Languages and literature||£418||38%||62%|
Source: Labour Force Survey 2012
|Maths and computer science||22%|
|Architecture, building and planning||32%|
Source: UCAS 2011/12, accepted places
We have found strong evidence that careers provision ranges from very good to inconsistent, fragmented and at times inadequate. Schools are now required to secure access to independent and impartial careers guidance from an external source. However, pupils often turn to their subject teachers as a primary source of advice, and they may, understandably, lack accessible, up-to-date information and guidance, or understanding of local jobs markets and skills shortages.Go Windsor Girls School case study
Many of our stakeholders believe that schools need more help from business and partner organisations in discharging their duty to provide careers guidance. The National Careers Council supports the need for improved careers advisory content within teacher training courses, and Ofsted has also highlighted the need to “strengthen the knowledge and understanding of staff about the wide range of progression routes available so that girls and young women can make informed choices”22. Many businesses already champion this. We have found evidence of existing good practice in partnerships between schools and business, and this should be more widespread and consistent.Go to FDM case study
Students develop perceptions of how useful a subject may be by the way in which schools link them to specific careers, by the career value ascribed to a subject by advisors and by family members. We want to empower students to make their own informed choices about what subjects, courses or qualifications will be most useful to them in terms of suitability, earning potential, and opportunities for development and progression. There are several excellent examples of initiatives designed to broaden aspirations of girls and boys such as the Speakers 4 Schools Programme, which we would encourage schools to take advantage of. We have found that parents and carers are often overlooked in how they can influence and support their sons and daughters, or children in their care, to make these important decisions. There is a lack of advice and signposting to ensure they are able to give the right advice to their children about career opportunities. There is a particular shortage of advice and support for parents to help girls make non-traditional choices.
The important work of the Education and Employers Taskforce has identified a number of barriers in the area of work placements. Work experience often fails to deliver its potential in challenging and stretching young people’s career horizons and improving career decision-making. Young people and their parents are frequently left to find their own work experience opportunities and these are often insufficiently challenging and may reinforce gendered expectations. Businesses often express concern about school leavers’ preparedness for work, but they frequently avoid engaging with work experience as they (and schools) find it complex to organise and costly to deliver. There are a number of schemes that support employers to provide useful work experience, such as Work Inspiration, run by Business in the Community. This is a national employer led campaign that targets 14-19 year olds in full-time education to help make their first experience of the world of work more meaningful and inspiring. This is an interesting approach that has a significant impact.
We recognise and applaud the activity that is already underway by the Government and other bodies to attract more girls into STEM sectors. However, progress remains slow, with efforts being delivered separately by different agencies. Given the projected growth in these sectors and the skills shortages in these areas, greater effort should be made to engage the interest of those young women and girls – and the best place to start is to get more girls choosing these subjects at school.
We welcome business-led education engagement programmes such as that provided by Siemens, which has recently launched an education portal that provides teachers, students and parents with access to a central hub of information explicitly designed to encourage young people to study engineering-related subjects. The site offers interactive educational material across STEM subjects, ranging from interactive learning content designed for classroom application to 3D games based on ground breaking technologies. Siemens also supports education through curriculum-related teacher resources, access to free Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, an employee volunteering programme that provides lesson support in schools, and an immersive exhibition centre called “The Crystal”.Go to P&G case study
We are also aware that businesses have in the past reported difficulties in gaining access to schools for various reasons. We hope that our recommendations will encourage better engagement between all parties.