Gender breakdown:

From  Eurostat.

Share of women among tertiary students. UK Total – science, mathematics and computing – engineering, manufacture and construction (%) = 36.1


From HE student equalities table:

% Female students in STEM
Mathematical Sciences = 0.36
Computer Science = 0.15
Engineering and Technology = 0.13

(full gender breakdown in table below and further subject breakdown in report)


Full report: HE Student Equalities tables by Sex 2013-14

Academic Year
2012-2013 2013-2014
M F M F 2013-2014
N % total N % total N % total N % total % Female
(7) Mathematical Sciences 19,560 3% 11,200 1% 19,805 3% 10,995 1%        0.36
(8) Computer Science 55,030 7% 9,930 1% 56,985 8% 9,905 1%        0.15
(9) Engineering and Technology 88,930 12% 13,925 1% 89,665 12% 13,830 1%        0.13

Wage breakdown:

Source: The Contribution of Women to the Economy of the UK (Mar 2014);

5.2 The Gender Pay Gap for Graduates
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service found that, at the end of the 2013 recruitment cycle, the application rate for women to higher education was substantially higher than that for men.24 However, the ONS has found that male graduates are more likely to have a high or upper middle skill job than female graduates.25 It also found that, on average, a male graduate earned £3 more an hour than a female graduate. The ONS has suggested that this disparity is caused by the difference in the number of women working part time, which makes up 32 percent of all female graduates, compared to 8 percent of male graduates.
The subjects that produced graduates with the highest average gross annual wages were medicine, followed by engineering, physical and environmental sciences, architecture, and maths and computer science.26 Of these subjects, the proportion of female graduates in medicine was 53 percent, in physical and environmental sciences 36 percent, in maths and computer science 23 percent, in architecture 22 percent and in engineering 7 percent. On the basis of these figures, the ONS has argued that subject choice was a contributing factor to the gender pay gap.27
The research body, the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, found that, across all the broad subject areas, more female graduates than male graduates were at the lower end of the salary range, with jobs earning between £15,000 to £17,999 and £21,000 to £23,999.28 Men were more likely than women to earn higher salary levels of £24,000 or more. The only sector where female graduates’ pay was equal to that of males was in the not-for-profit sector. The Higher Education Careers Services Unit stated that this situation had remained effectively unchanged from that in the 1990s. It argued that, although patterns of subject choice at university were a factor behind the pay gap, this did not wholly explain the persistence of the gender pay gap among graduates. One alternative contributing factor identified was that certain professions, notably law, were “behind the times” in the elimination of career paths which tended to serve men better than women.29
5.3. Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Careers
The recent House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee report Women in STEM Careers, found that 13 percent of all STEM jobs in the UK were occupied by women and 17 percent of STEM professors were women.30 One of the report’s recommendations was that diversity and equality training should be provided to all STEM undergraduate and postgraduate students to combat perceptions of the impracticalities of combining a career with family. The report also identified that a lack of longer-term positions and resultant job insecurity tended to occur at a point in the current STEM career progression which coincided with the time when many women were considering starting families, and recommended that a review take place of the academic career structure, to be conducted by the higher education sector.31 The Committee argued that improving the number of women in STEM careers was an economic imperative for the UK, citing evidence provided by the Society of Biology that increasing participation by women in STEM could be worth an extra £2 billion to GDP.32

Further reading:
Engineering UK: An investigation into why the UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in the EU.

Engineering UK: Engineering UK 2014 The state of engineering