IWD Careers Focus: What isn't working (or should that be who?)
We can’t believe we’re still saying this. But women don’t progress as well as men. Take the US election race. It started off as the most diverse democratic field in US history, but despite Elizabeth Warren’s credibility and achievements, she’s no longer in the running. It’s essentially now down to two white men.
While efforts such as the gender pay gap report are showing progress, from the first day of their career until the last, we’re still seeing that women earn less. Within a year of graduation (of all subjects combined), women earn an average of £18,434. Men get £19,633. After five years, the gap widens, with women earning £25,084, and men on £28,059.
In tech, it’s even worse. Female Computer Science grads earn £18,955. Males earn £22,221. That’s shocking enough. But after five years, female wages increase by £3,590 while male salaries go up by a whopping £8,019*. There is good news. Female enrolments into UK UG Computer Science have grown by 29%**. No, wait. As the subject is ever-more popular, it means the proportion of women has actually declined from 16% to 15%***. Sigh.
It’s all biology… and chemistry and physics
It’s no wonder when the UK Department for Education haven’t included a single woman in their biology, chemistry and physics subject content. And across three major exam boards, only two women are mentioned, compared to 40 male scientists getting the nod.
A study even showed that men with a male manager were promoted faster than their female peers – when they performed the same. Women were promoted at the same rate, whether managed by a male or female. Another study highlighted that women typically assess their abilities less favourably than equally performing men. With many organisations requiring people to assess their own performance, this isn’t closing the persistent pay gap either.
Our purpose is to change futures for the better, for everyone, regardless of gender, background, religion or race. So, while there is progress, measurable change needs to happen faster - which is something we can only achieve by working together to address inequality. There are some initiatives already in place, aligned with our own purpose.
Who’s doing something about it?
Our client, the charity TeachFirst, have pressed the government to extend curriculum funding as part of their ‘STEMinist’ campaign. They want STEMinism advocates to get a pay premium, rewards for schools increasing inclusion, and resources to help schools include more women in teaching - to provide more female role models, and in turn, the solution to the UK’s STEM skills shortage.
- Girls Who Code
Women make up 50% of the workforce, but fewer than 15% of STEM jobs. With computing a huge growth area for careers, women are being left behind. Girls Who Code have already reached 185,000 girls directly through programmes and clubs, and 100m people through campaigns, advocacy and books.
- The Girls’ Network
With 106,000 more young women than young men not in education, employment or training, The Girls’ Network believe that “no girl’s future should be limited by her background, gender or parental income”. And they’re helping to achieve that by connecting girls with female mentors and role models.
- The 30% Club
This organisation promotes the fact that gender diversity on boards and in senior management encourages better leadership and performance. By focusing on meaningful change, not mandatory quotas, they’re driving real transformation through targeted initiatives and scholarships.
- Smart Works
Smart Works offer a dressing and coaching service for unemployed women with job interviews. They receive a free full outfit of quality clothes, and a one-to-one interview prep and coaching session with an expert. If successful, they also get a capsule work wardrobe, and membership to a professional network of women.
We’ve gone from the bad news, to the better news. Now it’s time for the best. Take a look at our infographic to celebrate some of the biggest success stories of the past year. The fact they’re all achieved by women is just a coincidence… promise.