The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) is calling for more women to apply for graduate schemes, after results from its survey revealed that women are less likely to apply but more likely to land a job than their male counterparts.
AGR surveyed employers of graduates to gain insight into the diversity of their applicants and hires. The Diversity and Inclusion report found that more work needs to be done to attract more females to apply for such roles.
Despite women making up 54% of the student population, the survey found that only 47% apply to graduate schemes. However, it was found that the women who do apply are more likely to be offered a job, with an average of 49% of females landing the role.
Stephen Isherwood, chief executive at the AGR said: “Despite investment to develop a more diverse graduate workforce, there remain considerable barriers. Improving gender diversity is less about changing selection processes and is largely an attraction challenge. Many female students don’t apply for the top programmes when they should.
“Graduate employers want to hire women, there are lots of opportunities are out there and these candidates are more likely to succeed, so we need to address why they’re not applying. Industry-wide collaboration to tackle student perceptions will be a key step forward.
“We know women are hugely successful in the selection process, more so than, men. We just need them to realise it. We need to boost confidence and encourage more female graduates to reach their potential.”
The data was found to vary by subject with IT and engineering firms taking on an average of 27% and 25% of female hires, a high figure considering only there are only 17% of females studying IT and 15% studying engineering.
Law firms average 58% of female hires, however 63% of legal students are women.
Three quarters of the employers questioned said they had a diversity strategy in place, with the majority claiming gender was their highest priority.
Three quarters of the survey respondents had a diversity strategy in place and the majority placed gender as their highest priority when compared to other forms of diversity. Over half of sectors had increased their gender diversity year-on-year, with construction firms increasing the share of women hires by 3% and engineering firms by 4%.
Employers reported that student perceptions of their industry was one of their greatest challenges in attracting a more diverse workforce and 83% called for sector-wide investment to tackle the gender issue.