Equal Pay Day 2015: Women losing out on workplace training

In a survey to mark Equal Pay Day, on (9 November), the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) have launched research revealing some shocking findings about the differences between the training supplied to men and women within the workplace.


The research, which comprised face to face interviews with more than 6,000 UK adults, found that women are losing out when it comes to workplace training. Over a third were significantly more likely to have received no employer arranged training at all in the previous 12 months.

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Dr Fiona Aldridge, Assistant Director for Development and Research at NIACE said: “The differences we have found between training provision for men and women reflect wider issues within the workplace when it comes to gender inequality.

At present the gender pay gap in the UK is 19.1 per cent, compared with an EU average of 16.4 per cent. Advancements in flexible working have helped to ensure that there are now a record number of women in work, but this flexibility is often accompanied by a hidden pay penalty: the hourly pay difference between full-time and part-time workers is currently 25%. Women are also much more likely than men to work part-time (44% and 13% respectively) and to be found in low paid sectors such as retail, hospitality and social care.

The outcomes of workplace training for men and women also differ. Financially, men benefit more than women as the research shows they were significantly more likely to have received a pay rise as a result of their training.

Meanwhile more men received equality and diversity training along with health and safety training to enable them to become better leaders and managers.

Those working full time had more access to employer-provided training than their part-time colleagues.

 “To tackle this issue we have demonstrated how NIACE proposals to support people into learning and work would particularly support women, and close the gender pay gap.”

NIACE’s six policies for Equal Pay Day:

  1. A Career Advancement Service. To support women, who are most likely to find themselves in low paid work, or to lose their jobs after returning after a break from work. The Career Advancement Service would support women to articulate their skills and access training opportunities to advance in the labour market.
  2. Making migration work. Two thirds of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students are women, with a lack of English proficiency leaving many migrant women isolated and reliant upon their families for translation. NIACE’s proposals to protect and better focus ESOL funding will support these women in their communities, as well as into the labour market.
  3. The Apprentice Charter. With a 22 per cent gender pay gap in the apprenticeship sector, we need to ensure that apprenticeship opportunities are high quality and accessible to everyone. NIACE’s Apprentice Charter will shine a light on employers who are working to close the gender pay gap.
  4. A New Youth Allowance. There are 428,000 NEET (not in education, employment or training) women aged 18-24 in the UK, compared to 310,000 young men. We need an education and support system for young people which helps these young women find opportunities for education and work, particularly through traineeships and apprenticeships.
  5. Fairer Support for Young Adult Carers. There are 310,000 young adult carers in the UK, who find themselves twice as likely to be NEET. The majority of those are young women. NIACE has proposed that they get full access to the 16-19 bursary, as well as being exempted them from the 21 hour rule in the benefits system, and allowed access to apprenticeships with flexible hours.
  6. Helping older people gain digital skills for the 21st century. Older women are 1.25 times less likely to be using the internet than older men. NIACE proposes that Government establishes new £40m training fund to support older people and their carers to rapidly gain the skills they need to access online services.

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