New data has suggested that pay inequality begins before men and women even enter the workplace.

A study run by Totaljobs has revealed that not only is there a significant gap between the salaries males and females are paid for the same careers, but there is also a difference between the number of men and women applying for higher paid jobs.

It found that graduate job applications differ between the genders, with male graduates applying for jobs that pay on average £2,000 more than jobs female graduates routinely apply for.

Examples of this include jobs in hospitality, tourism, and leisure – men average a salary of £26,413 compared to women’s £24,951 – as well as economics, politics and business studies (£28,693 for males but £27,183 for females), and construction, planning, and architecture (£29,720 to £27,879).

Not only are females paid less on average than their male counterparts, but they are also far less prevalent in high paying jobs generally. 2,784 men polled work in engineering, one of the highest paying industries, whereas only 561 of women do. Similar patterns are seen in construction, planning, and architecture (1,181 to 330) and IT, telecommunications, and new media. (3,733 to 997).

A root cause of this could be the driving desire to pursue high paying careers, and whether there is a difference in the level of encouragement men and women receive towards such careers in their youth. CWJobs ran a poll that investigated the contrast between nurturing of different genders for jobs in the IT and Technology industries, and the results show that there is indeed a gender imbalance.

The interest levels in a career in IT and technology are higher now for men (70%) than they were in earlier years (48%), as are the interest levels for women (32% rising to 48%). Although there has been a similar rise in the amount of interest (a 45% rise in men and a 50% rise in women), there are still fewer women gaining an interest in the IT and technology industries.

During their school years, 47% of men were uninterested in a career in IT, but this dropped to 28% in the present time. 63% of women were uninterested in the same careers whilst at school, but that figure only dropped to 50% in the present time.

This could have been as a result of the influence of friends, family, and society in general – the CWJobs poll shows that men felt more encouraged to choose a career in IT than women, by parents (35% of men and 25% of women), other family (25% to 15%), educational guidance (38% to 30%), and society (33% to 24%).

These statistics show that the inequality in pay between the genders may have roots in education and childhood, raising the question – are we collectively doing enough to combat the gender imbalance in the job market? Gender roles have changed significantly over time, with many more females taking higher positions in the workplace, but there should be more focus placed on the issue at a younger age.

Gender roles are seemingly a general and somewhat out-dated construct that will, hopefully, continue to change as more women accomplish in higher and more varied positions. With societal perceptions and outlooks changing, women are increasingly succeeding in what were seen as ‘male roles’ – and eventually this notion will be left in the past where it belongs. But we must keep putting pressure on these stereotypes, with continued focus and research on the issue through studies, polls and discussion in order to keep getting closer to equality.