Women locked out of growing sectors as the gender pay gap widens

Our Chair Dr Ann Limb CBE, reflects on Equal Pay Day 2021 – the day in which women effectively, on average, stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap.

18 November 2021

Dr Ann Limb CBE, Chair of City & Guilds: “With this year’s Equal Pay Day highlighting that the gender pay gap has widened, we face a very real risk of undoing the progress towards gender parity made within the last few years. If we’re truly looking to reboot our economy, we need women in the workplace to fill critical skills gaps and provide the diverse perspectives and leadership styles that help organisations and societies to thrive.

“Despite economic recovery creating more jobs in high-paying sectors such as digital, construction and transportation, women are still being left behind. While new career opportunities are being created, women are significantly underrepresented in these sectors due to the fact that boys are generally encouraged to take STEM routes whilst girls are not. This is coupled with the fact that working practices are often not compatible with the caring responsibilities that often fall to women.

“In order to get back on the path to progress, we need to start by offering better careers advice and guidance to girls from primary school age onwards. This includes an improved career service for women who want or need to retrain later in their careers. With our recent research finding that 59% of women have not received any training in the past year, it’s vital we provide equal opportunities for women to upskill and reskill to empower them to transition into industries of growth.

“We are calling on the Government and employers to lend support to the improvement of careers services, including the development of a more comprehensive online advice system. In addition, to help women upskill and continue to contribute throughout their working lives, we need to look at how we can offer greater flexibility not only in the workplace, but for training and reskilling opportunities as well.”