Sixth-form girls are less confident about their job prospects than boys their age, a new study from Oxford University has shown.
After a survey of 3,698 sixth-formers from 63 schools and colleges, the research found girls’ career ambitions are more influenced by lifestyle factors and finding a ‘worthwhile’ job.
While boys tend to look at higher-paid salaries as their main focus for careers, girls were found to have shown greater anxiety about their ability to land a good job.
The study also found that 56 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls think men receive higher pay in their jobs after university.
On a scale of 1 to 6 (with 6 being the most confident), girls average 3.7 and boys average 4.3 when asked to rate their personal job prospects after university.
Jonathan Black, director of the Oxford University Career Service, said: “We surveyed sixth form students after identifying gender as the single biggest factor in whether graduates from top universities secured a graduate-level job.
“Our research has confirmed that gender-based differences in career confidence start early. Girls may be self-limiting their choice of careers, especially because the types of jobs they seek often have informal entry processes, such as via internships.”
The university’s careers service is developing a confidence programme called Ignite that is being trialed in schools.
Mr Black added: “This has the knock-on effect that girls may be self-limiting their choice of careers.
“We are exploring ways to intervene and equip school pupils to improve their career confidence.”
Ignite aims to help pupils develop assertiveness and confidence in and out of school so they think more about their future.