According to the UK business advisory firm Deloitte, the gender pay gap will not close until 2069 unless action is taken. Although the gender pay gap is gradually decreasing and is at it’s narrowest point since the 1970 Equal Pay Act, standing at a 9.4% difference between male and female workers, Deloitte’s research has found that whilst the gap is closing, the pace of change is slow and in certain sectors the gap is actually widening.

In certain occupations, such as skilled trades and education, the gap is increasing. Likewise in female-dominated occupations, such as teaching and caring, men receive considerably higher average pay. At the current rate, the gender pay gap will not close for another 53 years. Some reasons for this include women being more likely to take lesser paid jobs in caregiving roles, as well as taking time out for personal or familial reasons. Their rate of pay is also considerably less when they return to work and in part-time positions. However the wage difference between men and women on starting salaries who have studied Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics based subjects is considerably smaller.

“We know that the pay gap is far smaller for those women starting their careers in STEM related roles; we also know that high-skilled jobs demanding a blend of cognitive, social and technical skills are typically among the most highly-paid,” said Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent at Deloitte. “Therefore, if more women study STEM subjects and pursue related careers they will increase their earnings potential in the early years of their working lives and - should they remain in their careers - the later ones.”

If this is the case, more must be done in order to educate girls and young women about the importance (and implications) of their career options, and they should be encouraged to consider their options in STEM related career paths.