All quoted statistics are drawn from Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA) sources for 2013/14.
Gender imbalance across subject choices is stark. For Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) subjects, male students comprise the majority of students studying engineering and technology (83.9%), computer science (82.9%) and architecture, building and planning (65.0%).
Low participation by women in STEMM subjects impacts on their career options and earning potential; perpetuating the under-representation of women in related industries and professions. Click here for information about how institutions are working with the ECU to address gender imbalances
While most institutions collect monitoring data on the protected characteristics of their students there are often gaps in this information for certain groups.
A lack of data limits an institution’s understanding of equality challenges faced by certain students and the ability to take action. Another concern is that there is a lack of robust national data to enable benchmarking to make comparisons.
Black, minority and ethnic (BME) attainment
The overall BME degree attainment gap at 15.2 percentage points remains significant. However, the gap is larger for certain ethnic groups, including UK domiciled first degree undergraduate graduates from other that Black background (28.2 percentage points) and with Black African ethnicity (27.0 percentage points).
Many graduate-level jobs and post-graduate courses (and related bursaries) require an upper second degree or above as a minimum entry requirement. This means that minority ethnic graduates are less likely to access graduate opportunities in the labour market or to undertake postgraduate study. This may be one reason why the proportion of research postgraduates who were black was nearly half that of first degree undergraduates last year. Click here for further information about what institutions can do about reducing the gap
Gender attainment gap
A smaller proportion of male graduates receive a first or upper second class degree than female graduates. The gaps were as follows: Wales -7.0%, Scotland -5.5%, England -5.1% and Northern Ireland -4.7%. However, despite women making-up the majority of students and gaining a high class of degree, after graduation they are less likely to secure professional full-time work than male leavers (49.9% compared with 47.5%).
Male students often engage less with support services offered by HEIs. Click here for further information
Employment of disabled graduates
Six months after leaving HE, unemployment rates were much higher among leavers with certain impairments than non-disabled leavers.
This suggests disabled students can be disadvantaged in finding employment following completion of their studies, which impacts on their future life prospects. Click here to see ECU’s previous research which highlights how institutions can take actions to address this.