Published: 25 April 2016

Study finds female students fear gender bias in future careers

A national study has found that female students are significantly more likely than their male peers to believe that gender will influence pay and career progression.

The first national Think Future Study, from the 30% Club and KPMG, was launched last November at 21 universities and polled over 20,000 students.

According to the study significantly less than half of women (43%) were confident that their gender would have no impact on pay and reward, compared to 73% of men, and only 42% of women felt confident that their career progression would not be impacted by their gender, compared to 72% of men.

Generation Z

Nearly half (48%) of all respondents felt that a sector’s reputation for gender equality would influence their decision about working in it.

The study also showed that when it came to entering the working world, 93% of current students – known as ‘Generation Z’ – placed importance on a job with purpose, while only 72% placed importance on a high salary. The top three priorities for job satisfaction were ‘Finding a job they enjoy’, ‘Having time to spend with family and friends’ and ‘Being intellectually fulfilled’.  

Conversely, ‘Finding a well-paid job’ ranked seventh on the list of eleven options. ‘Getting to the top of my chosen career’ was the least important. 

Profit with purpose

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, said: “Universities are taking their commitment to provide students with opportunities to enhance their social and economic capital well beyond the academic experience very seriously. 

“This includes offering work-based learning, both as part of accredited learning and as extra-curricular activity, to offer students insight into the workplace and the range of careers available to them. We want to provide learning and experiences which raise aspirations and equip individuals with the knowledge and skills employers want.”

Helena Eccles, the founder of the Think Future Study, said: “Generation Z students are driven by a ‘profit with purpose’ mentality – they want to do worthwhile work and be rewarded well for their contribution to society. This new cohort of students, who are about to enter the working world, have a different set of wants, needs and aspirations and businesses need to readily adapt to these demands.”

More details about the study can be found here.


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