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Female graduates reluctant to apply for male-dominated sectors

The number of female graduates looking to enter male dominated industries has shown no significant increase over the past 10 years, according to research by jobs board graduate-jobs.com.

The report looks at the career intentions of more than 600,000 graduate job seekers from 2003 to 2013. It suggests that in this period, the proportion of female graduates applying for engineering jobs has increased by 2.4 percentage points, from 16.9% to 19.2%.  In utilities, the number has decreased by 1.1 percentage point. It is now at 28%. 

The most marked decrease has been in sports and recreation, where the number of female graduates looking to enter the sector is down by 6.3 percentage points to 25%. 

The number of male graduates looking to work in female-dominated industries has also fallen. Only 24% of all graduate applicants for business administration and secretarial roles are male, down 4.4 percentage points. 

The split for HR has remained largely unchanged. Almost two-thirds (60%) of all graduate applying for HR jobs are female, down slightly from 62% in 2003. 

Graduate-jobs.com operations director Gerry Wyatt told HR magazine the findings show more needs to be done to even the balance in gender stereotyped roles.

"If we were looking at an increase from 20% to 40% we could call that a real pattern," he said. "But a couple of percent here and there over 10 years doesn't constitute progress."