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Low-paid work for women leaps by 3 times in 20 years

Huge numbers of young women are being forced into low-paid, low-skilled jobs

Huge numbers of young women are being forced into low-paid, low-skilled jobs, according to research published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) today.

Three times the proportion of young women are in low-paid, low-skilled work as 20 years ago - and double for young men.

The research, carried out by the Work Foundation, shows that between 1993 and 2011 the share of female 16-24 year-olds doing low-paid work such as office and hotel cleaning increased from 7 per cent to 21 per cent.

Over the same period the proportion of young men working in low-paid jobs almost doubled from around one in seven to one in four.

Gender still has an enormous impact on employment of young people.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the youth labour market had become "a much harsher place for young people" - especially young women.

She called for "better training and employment opportunities for young people," as well as challenging gender roles.

The Gender Jobs Split report says just one in a hundred young women worked in skilled trades in 2011, compared to one in five young men.

And four times more young women worked occupations like hairdressing, leisure and the travel industry than young men.

Despite being better qualified than their male counterparts, young women are still taking on work with fewer prospects.

The report blames a "collapse of middle-income jobs," including administration and manufacturing, for trapping young people in low-paid, low-skill jobs.

It said gender segregation is "rife" at the lower end of the youth jobs market. The number of young women in skilled trades fell from 3 per cent to 1 per cent between 1993 and 2011.

Young women were also found to get a lower wage return on their qualifications - despite being better qualified than young men - and to still bear the brunt of "caring responsibilities."

Katy Jones from The Work Foundation said unemployment for all young people remains "at crisis levels."

The report drew up a blueprint of action needed, including pressing contractors to provide more opportunities for young people, tackling gender segregation in the youth labour market - including through schools.


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