Right out of the gate, women make less money than men | Ladders

The gender pay gap starts immediately after college. But what really causes it?
Gender at Work

Right out of the gate, women make less money than men

Do men choose higher-paid jobs, or do some jobs pay more because they’re dominated by  men?

A new Glassdoor study called  The Pipeline Problem: How College Majors Contribute to the Gender Pay Gap showed that your gender and the academic major you choose can have an impact on how much you earn down the line.

No surprise: men are paid more, and their pay advantage starts the minute men graduate from college.

Glassdoor said that “for our sample overall,” men in all majors took home “on average a median base pay of $56,957 per year, while women earned $50,426 per year,” which translates “to an overall gender pay gap of $6,531 per year or 11.5 percent of male pay.”

And the trend is far from a blip: the research was based on a “dataset of more than 46,900 resumes shared on Glassdoor” from people who graduated “between 2010 and 2017.”

Men make more money than women right from the start

“You would expect new grads to find a level playing field when it comes to pay, but they generally don’t. Glassdoor’s analysis shows an 11.5% average pay gap among new grads in the early years of their career,” Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor chief economist, told Yahoo Finance.

Chamberlain did not credit the difference to gender discrimination, but instead to different career choices.

“When we isolate by major, pay gaps remain because men and women are sorting into different jobs after graduating – a clear sign of societal pressures and gender norms at play in the career paths of young workers,” Chamberlain said.

Other studies indicate, however, that even women in the same jobs as men get underpaid. A landmark study of Harvard Business School alumni found that the highly-educated female graduates of the school showed less career progress and made less money than their peers despite similar job choices and qualifications.

Men flock to engineering majors, while women prefer social sciences

The study found that people who major in subjects that “lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering” are mostly male, but people who study subjects “that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be” mostly female, “placing men in higher-paying career pathways, on average.”

But even when women choose the majors that lead to higher-paying jobs, they may veer off when it’s time to actually pick a career, and as a result, lower pay dogs them throughout their lives according to Glassdoor.

The most male-dominated majors and their percentage of men were: mechanical engineering at 89% male, civil engineering at 83% male, physics at 81% male, computer science at 74% male, and electrical engineering at 74% male.

The same report also listed “the most female-dominated majors,” from the set of thousands of resumes, showing that: social work is 85% female, healthcare administration is 84% female, anthropology is 80% female, nursing is 80% female, and human resources is 80% female.

The gender pay gap may increase over time

“Even within the same major, men and women often end up on different career tracks, resulting in a pay gap that could follow them for a lifetime. In our sample, across the 50 most common majors, men and women face an 11.5% pay gap on average in the first five years of their careers,” the Glassdoor research said.

That may grow even over time. According to Glassdoor’s 2016 study, Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap: Evidence from Glassdoor Salary Data, “based on more than 505,000 salaries shared by full-time U.S. employees on Glassdoor, men earn 24.1% higher base pay than women on average. In other words, women earn about 76 cents per dollar men earn.”