By Hajer Naili
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Authors of today's AAUW study encourage employers to check their pay and promotion processes. They also advise students to pick their undergrad majors wisely.
Credit: UNE Photos on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).
(WOMENSENEWS)--One year after college graduation women working full time earn less--82 percent on average--than male counterparts, the American Association of University Women finds in "Graduating to a Pay Gap," a study released Oct. 24.
This is slightly higher than it was in 2001 when, among the same group, women earned just 80 percent of what their male peers earned.
Women working full time earned $35,296 on average, versus $42,918 for male counterparts.
Business was the most popular major for both men (27 percent) and women (19 percent), but female graduates in this sector earned just over $38,000, while men earned just over $45,000.
The study shows that differences in job type and hours explain part of the pay gap, but about one-third of the gap remains unexplained, suggesting that bias and discrimination are still problems in the workplace.
Choice of college major is also an important factor driving the pay gap, authors find, and gender differences in occupation translate into different earnings for men and women.
In light of the findings, authors recommend that employers increase transparency in pay systems, ensure clear structures for evaluation, conduct internal pay equity studies and take steps to address any gender disparities.
Students are also encouraged to carefully choose their majors and understand the salary implications and learn how to negotiate their future salaries by attending workshops on campuses.
Men are more likely than women to major in fields such as engineering and computer science, leading to higher-paying jobs. Women are more likely than men to major in fields such as education and social sciences, which typically lead to lower-paying jobs.
The analysis is based on data of about 15,000 students who received a bachelor's degree between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, and were tracked by "Baccalaureate and Beyond a longitudinal study" by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.
Among 2007–08 college graduates, women made up the large majority of graduates in health care fields (88 percent) and education (81 percent). At the same time, women were a distinct minority in engineering and engineering technology (18 percent) and computer and information sciences (19 percent).
Authors say occupational segregation is a stubborn cause of the gender pay gap.
Among social-science graduates, for exa