Young women beginning apprenticeships face a gender pay gap of six percent less than their male counterparts.
The report, from the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, found the gap had almost doubled since 2016.
The study discovered women were more likely to be illegally paid less than the minimum wage and only two in five women receive formal training as part of their apprenticeship compared to three in five men.
Campaigners warn young women can be pushed into lower quality and less well-paid apprenticeships, which have fewer progression opportunities, and will earn less than male counterparts for years after the end of their apprenticeship.
The study also revealed that one in five apprentices are illegally paid below minimum wage, with 21 percent of women encountering this problem compared with 17 percent of men.
Male apprentices at level four or above, earn £13 an hour but their female counterparts earn £12.
Sophie Walker, of the Young Women’s Trust, said:
This report once again highlights the sexism and discrimination that young women face even at the very beginning of their careers. This discrimination… shuts them out of apprenticeships such as engineering
One young woman, who chose to remain anonymous, said:
I don’t encounter many other women in work or college. I was the only girl in my class for the two years of my BTEC. I’m the only full-time female engineer in my office so it can be quite isolating.
I had sexist remarks in college, I remember my name would be on the attendance list and some of the tutors would laugh and ask ‘have you ever heard of a female engineer?’ which was quite jarring in that environment.
Katie Fiddaman, of The Apprentice Voice, said:
The apprentice minimum wage is inequitable and needs scrapping. To pay below the minimum wage is not just exploitative, but illegal, and employers doing so should be served with the maximum fine. It is clear from the findings of this report that apprentices and women, in particular, are not being treated with the respect they deserve.
We spoke to our own Employer Services Manager Caroline Roberts to get her opinion and see how Cogent Skills compared, she said:
Based on the report there is obviously a long way to go to close the gender pay gap within apprenticeships and ensure young female apprentices are not only paid equally, but given the same respect and opportunities as their male counterparts.
However, I am proud to say that at Cogent Skills we pride ourselves on providing equal opportunity and ensuring fair pay and training to all our employees. Our female apprentices are given the same pay, opportunities and respect and we are extremely proud of the great relationships we have with employers who also take this important topic as seriously as we do.