CBI calls for more women to consider engineering industries
More needs to be done to tackle the pay gap between the sexes and ensure that more women consider engineering-related jobs, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said.
Speaking at the launch of a new Code of Practice on equal pay, CBI Northern Ireland director Nigel Smyth said that although pay disparity between men and woman was "no longer significant", gender issues still existed.
He added that imbalances in career choice also left women lagging behind in availing of higher salary opportunities.
Mr Smyth said gender issues in the labour market remained "down to complex issues including cultural, educational and occupational choice, as well as decisions around family responsibilities".
"If we are to narrow the wage differential we need to encourage more young women to consider their career choices," he said.
The CBI chief said progress was being made in many graduate courses.
But he said that: "The balance within apprenticeships is particularly worrying".
The latest figures in Northern Ireland indicate that less than 30% of apprentices in the province are female.
He said women made up either 100% or at least a majority of starters in areas like beauty therapy, childcare and hairdressing
But he added: "In contrast, in construction only 10 out of 1040 starters are female, in engineering only 10 out of 440 starters are female and in IT, where salaries are around 40% higher than other sectors, only 30 out of 215 starters are female.
"Until we address such imbalances wage differentials will continue – and importantly businesses will miss out on a potentially significant talent pool."