Girls losing out on high-paying jobs with school choices

GIRLS who choose not to study mathematics, science and technology subjects at high school are less likely to get high-paying jobs in engineering and IT, a new study has found.

The University of Melbourne study shows the trend of women's "under-representation" in fields including engineering and IT could be traced back to their high school subject choices.

The study followed about 58,000 high school students in Victoria from Year 7 to graduation in 2013.

The study also showed that even those girls who were good at mathematics were less likely to choose physics or IT subjects at high school, compared to "equally skilled boys".

Report co-author Dr Susan Mendez said girls with strong maths skills were favouring biology and human development.

That could lead to a career in allied health, which attracted lower incomes than jobs related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Girls simply aren't doing the subjects required in order to launch a career in the highly paid engineering or IT industries," she said.

"Many girls who think they are not good enough at mathematics to study in physics and information technology could succeed at these subjects and should be encouraged to try."

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