IES Blog

The pay gap between men and women begins right after college graduation

Posted on October 26th, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

One year after graduating college, women make roughly 80 percent of their male peers' earnings, according to a recent study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

In the years following graduation, women and men tend to share many commonalities. Most are young, single, childless and working full-time. The AAUW study, "Graduating to a Pay Gap," attempted to determine why people who have very similar demographic characteristics aren't paid equally.

Educational and occupational differences help explain the phenomenon. While women and men graduate from the same kinds of institutions and receive similar grades, the differences between their study course selection results in salary discrepancies. While majors in health care, education, social sciences and humanities are heavily female, majors in computer and information sciences and engineering had more men. Jobs resulting from each of these disciplines vary drastically when it comes to payrolling. Job differences vary in terms of economic sector, occupational roles and workweek hours.

Meanwhile, when researchers evened out determining factors and compared men and women hired for the same position in an industry and working equal hours, men still earned more than women. The study attributed the gap to discrimination, and encourages employers to conduct a pay equity study of their businesses.

Related Articles