A record number of women are in work but females are still underrepresented in too many industries including IT, science and engineering, according to Employment Minister Esther McVey.
The Minister, who has been on a tour of businesses in the North, this week, unveiled the #NotJustForBoys campaign,
The campaign is designed to highlight the work that women are doing to help support the economy, through non-traditional roles to help inspire more women to take on such jobs.
With an estimated 12 million job vacancies due to be available in the UK over the next decade, McVey encouraged women to make the most of the opportunities presented to them.
In addition she will lead a summit of large employers based in the West Midlands in order to seek out new ways of breaking down barriers for women to take up non-traditional roles. Female employment stands at 1.2 million in the West Midlands, which is a near record high for the region. There are currently a record number of females in work across the UK – 14.4 million which is a rate of 68.2%.
"Up and down the country, the women of the UK have been staging a quiet revolution – they’ve been getting in work in unprecedented numbers. With record employment and almost 700,000 vacancies in the economy – I want to see as many young women as possible making the most of those opportunities to provide the security of a regular wage for themselves," McVey said.
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"Despite a record number of women in work they are still underrepresented in many of the industries – for example engineering, science and construction – where they can be the role models in traditionally male-dominated jobs for the next generation."
According to figures from the Department of Work and Pensions 80% of the female employment growth, in the last four years, has been in managerial, professional and technical professions.
The employment rate for women aged between 25 and 34 now stands at 74.2% with a record 3.24 million in jobs. 77.8% of women aged 35 to 49 are in employment and 63.6% of women aged 50 to 64 are in work. There are also currently 457,000 women aged 65 and above still working.
Jobs growth areas where women are underrepresented:
- Engineering professionals (up 10% since 2011) – 7% working in this area are women
- Broadcast media (including photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators) (up by 25% since 2011) – 20% working in this area are women
- Graphic designers (up 40% since 2011) – 30% working in this area are women
- Science, engineering and production technicians (up 45% since 2011) – 25% working in this area are women
*Figures from Department of Work and Pensions
If women set up businesses at the same rate as men, McVey said: "There would be an extra 150,000 starts-ups every year. I want to see even more women take advantage of government job schemes so we can see more female Richard Bransons take on the business world – they can do it, it’s not just for boys."
"Women are getting on and making choices about the world of work that many of their mothers and grandmothers might never have considered for themselves. I want to see more women make the most of the future growth and job opportunities in what once may have been considered non-traditional roles – so young children won’t only know about Bob the Builder, but Becky the Builder, his workmate too."