From education to employment

Education Gender Split Revealed: Only 28% of Education Sector are Male

Employees are the backbone of the companies they work for, as well as the industries that they are employed in.

But which industries see a higher total of men or women in their workforce.

New research by RS Components has revealed that only 28% of those employed in the education sector are male. 

Gender equality is important in all areas of society and in recent years, there’s been a huge emphasis on gender in the workplace. Whether this is down to the gender pay gap or the roles of women in the workplace, it’s now more important than ever for companies to have equality at the forefront of their minds.

Using data from the Office for National Statistics on the breakdown of men and women in UK industries for the past year, RS Components revealed that the Education sector is one of the worst industries for having an equal gender split, with 72% of those employed in Education being female.

More specifically, research shows that only 2% of the UK’s early years education workforce is male and that the gender imbalance is more commonly seen in early years and primary school education.

The number of male primary school teachers remains at an all time low, with just 15% of nursery and primary school teachers in England being male – in nearly one in every four primary schools in Greater Manchester there are no male teachers whatsoever. Teachers, unions and charities are now urging young men to see through the traditional perception of primary school teachers and sign up to teach younger children.

However, those males who are working as primary school teachers, have previously spoken of their fear of being perceived as suspicious for working with young children as a reason for not building a career in the early education sector. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the lack of male representation in the classroom is due to the lower pay and lower perceived status of primary school roles, leaving primary school students with a lack of male role models.

James Bowen, the National Association of Head Teachers’ director of policy, said:

“It’s important for all children to experience positive male role models, and to understand that men can be interested in education, science or reading, just as much as in football.”

The gender imbalance is slightly less unequal in secondary school education, with around 38% of teachers in state secondary schools being male. However, there is a still a trend that male teachers are more likely to specialise in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and PE when compared to women, which may in par explain the lack of female representation in STEM students.

Research also suggests that male teachers are more likely to be employed in high ranking roles within a school such as Head Teacher, as women in education more typically see their role as vocational and prefer teaching to administrative or managerial roles, even though the pay grade is low.

Moving forward then, in order to try and rebalance the gender split in the education industry government states such as the Department of Education to discuss strategies to recruit and retain more male teachers. Particularly in primary school roles, steps need to be taken to remove stigmas of ‘suspicion’ of male primary school teachers, as well as making primary school teacher roles more appealing, removing perceptions of lower status and dispelling the myths of the feminine nature of education roles.

Equal male and female representation at all teaching careers events, and in school and university events that teacher training organisations are involved in, will ensure that there are more of, and stronger male advocates for any males considering a career in the education sector.

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