Women will take two-thirds of all new highly-skilled jobs created in the next six years because male skills development and academic achievements are failing to keep pace.
This is the conclusion of a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), which found that the proportion of men with a degree-level equivalent education is set to increase at a slower rate than it will for women.
UKCES estimates 49 per cent of all women will have degree-level qualifications by 2020 — rising from 38 per cent today — but while men qualifications will also rise, only 44 per cent of men are expected to have attained the same levels of qualifications by 2020.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary and UKCES commissioner said rising skills levels should be welcomed, but the disparity between men’s and women’s skill levels is “concerning for both sexes”. She added: “Men are finding it to harder to get skilled jobs, while for many women, their higher qualifications are not leading to better pay and jobs.”
Predictions about rising female dominance follows many years of good GCSE and A-Level results, where girls have consistently outperformed boys. This year, 73 per cent of girls achieved A-C grades in their GCSEs compared to 64 per cent for boys.
Last year data from Pearson, which runs the BTEC awards found 37 per cent of girls achieved a distinction in their chosen subjects, compared to 20 per cent of boys, while in 2012, 62 per cent of girls achieved good GCSEs compared to 55 per cent for boys. Today, the number of boys who fail to achieve at least a C-grade GSCE is double that of girls.
According to UKCES, the impact of these statistics is likely to mean the proportion of women qualified to below GCSE level is expected to drop at a significantly faster rate than men — falling from 24 per cent to 15 per cent by 2020, compared to it falling from 23 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020 for men.
Michael Davis, chief executive, UKCES, said: “These projections are a warning shot for our future selves. They highlight the importance of employers continuing to develop the skills of all of their employees to ensure that businesses compete successfully and the economy continues to grow.”
The report also looked at how UK skills compared to other countries. Better news is the fact it found the proportion of people in the UK holding a degree or equivalent is set to rise to almost half (48 per cent) by 2020, moving the UK above America and most European nations. But Davis said there was no room for complacency. “The productivity gap between the UK and other nations is growing, and addressing this ‘long tail’ of low skills is vital to sustaining growth over the long term,” he said.