UK A-levels – Girls Studying STEM subjects Drastically Increases

August 17, 2018 | D Cody

Computer Desk Email

An analysis by software company Exasol has shown that the percentage of female students studying STEM-related subjects at A-level has increased from 6.5% to 11.8% in the last five years alone. 

The information came as students across the UK received their A-level exam results on Thursday, after the Department for Education introduced a new structure to A-level exams, where students took all exams at the end of their two years of study instead of throughout the course.

Exasol’s regional vice-president Ravinder Romanay said the news was positive in terms of bridging the gender gap. In a statement, Romanay said: “There have been various government-industry initiatives, and these are clearly paying off. Inspiring the next generation of female talent to take up Stem careers is critical to plugging the skills gap in science and technology.”

The graphic below shows that the overall number of students taking STEM subjects has increased, with an almost 24% increase in the number of students studying computing at A Level.  In addition, overall, 20.1% of female students achieved an A* or A in computing exams, compared to 17.9% of male students.


Closing the gap in STEM studies

The news that more girls are studying STEM in the UK is extremely positive for the push towards further diversity and inclusion in tech sector. However, there is still a disproportionate amount of male students studying STEM subjects at GCSE and A-level, and a lot of progress to make in order to close the gap. Boys still make up 57% of the students sitting exams on the subjects – 2 in 5 subject entries from males are STEM subjects, compared to 2 in entries from females. 

The most recent data shows that only around 15% of the UK’s STEM workforce are women. Perhaps the most important takeaway from the news that more girls are studying related subjects, is that this could potentially have a positive impact on the ‘pipeline’ problem often blamed for the lack of women working in STEM fields.

At this year's Women of Silicon Roundabout tech conference, we hosted two days packed full of inspiring talks, hands-on workshops and networking opportunities for women working in the UK tech sector. Check out some the highlights from Women of Silicon Roundabout 2018.