Young technicians four times as often male

Education | 07-11-2023 11:11

In 2022, there were 609 thousand young people (aged 15 to 34 years) in the Netherlands who had completed a technical education. There were relatively few women in this group; compared to men, women were also less likely to work in technical occupations. The difference between young women and young men in choosing a technical education is already visible in senior general (HAVO) and pre-university (VWO) secondary education. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this in the context of the National Youth Monitor 2023 on the basis of figures from the Labour Force Survey and education statistics.

In 2022, there were 609 thousand young people (aged 15 to 34 years inclusive) in the Netherlands with a completed technical education. The young technicians included almost four times as many men (484 thousand) than women (125 thousand). In 2022, 43 percent of working female tech graduates were working in technical occupations, versus 65 percent of male tech graduates.

Most common tech jobs: engineer and software developer

Both young men and young women in technical occupations are most likely to work as engineers or as software and application developers. However, relatively more young female technicians hold a degree from a university or university of applied sciences. As such, they are relatively more likely to work at occupational skill level 3 or 4. Aside from engineers, software and application developers and structural and nature engineers, they work as architects, biologists or natural scientists, for instance. Male technicians are more often found at occupational skill level 2, working for example as electricians, car mechanics or carpenters.

In 2022, technically educated women working in non-technical occupations were relatively often business manager or organisation consultant, higher education teacher or senior lecturer, graphic or product designer, or retail salesperson.

Gender gap in tech-oriented secondary education narrowing

The difference between young women and young men in choosing a technical education is already visible in secondary education. Male students are relatively more likely to graduate from senior general (HAVO) and pre-university (VWO) secondary education with a specialised technical component. This applied to over 12 thousand boys against slightly less than 10 thousand girls among the students who took their final examination in 2022. In 2012, the numbers were slightly under 14 thousand for boys and over 8 thousand for girls.

In recent years, the technical specialisation gap between girls and boys at HAVO and VWO level has narrowed over recent years. This is mostly due to the fact that boys have become proportionately less likely to choose the technical component. The share of VWO graduates with a technical specialisation was 6 percentage points lower in 2022 than in 2017. Among HAVO graduates, it was 9 percentage points lower. Male secondary graduates were increasingly often specialised in the economic component.

Technology pact

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has been commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to compile statistics on the labour participation of technology graduates. In 2013, a national technology pact was set up between educational institutions, employers, young graduates, top sectors, regional authorities and central government with the aim of improving the connection between education and the technical job market in order to tackle technical personnel shortages