The gender gap between undergraduate career options means employers should tailor their marketing to attract more men or women into sectors mainly dominated by one sex, research by jobs board TARGETjobs has found.

The study, which looked at 1,500 first year students, found that the most popular choices for men were IT and engineering, whereas women veered towards retail and media.

Of those that chose retail, 90% were women and only 10% male. In IT and technology, 70% were male and 30% female.

Chris Phillips, research director at GTI Media/TARGETjobs said:

“This is the first time that we have focused specifically on the career aims of first year undergraduates and the results should interest the growing number of graduate recruiters targeting students at the start of their studies. Clearly, some career sectors need to assess how they tailor their marketing to attract more men – or more women.”

More also needs to be done at school to encourage a better balance across subjects in order to go some way to tackling the issue with youth unemployment, which remains high at 17.8%.

A study by The Prince’s Trust and HSBC’s Skills Crunch, found that more than two thirds of UK business leaders fear a skills shortage will be responsible for ultimately stopping the UK’s economic growth. It is therefore important that young people across both genders are encouraged to take a wider look at their career options.

Martina Milburn, the chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, said:

“It is deeply concerning that employers are struggling to fill vacancies when we have hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people desperate for work.

“The current economic recovery is encouraging, but in order to sustain this growth, UK plc needs to invest in the next generation to avoid a skills vacuum.”

Photo by MD saad andalib