Editorial

Woman with a college degree? You'll make even less than men

Thursday, May 30, 2019

People with college degrees make more than those with a high school diploma or less. The conventional wisdom is true for the most part; a college degree will help you earn twice much as someone without one, which youíll need if you rack up significant college loan debt.

But if youíre a woman going into most professions, donít expect pay equal to that of your male co-workers.

Women with a bachelorís degree earn 74 cents for every dollar similarly qualified men make, while women without college degrees make 78 cents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Those figures are subject to interpretation, however, after other factors are taken into consideration.

Men, on average, earn more at every age than their female counterparts, but the average woman with a bachelorís degree is two years younger than a similar man, which skews the numbers because the men have more time on the job and chances to get a raise.

Working women without a bachelorís degree are generally older, which narrows the pay gap for the same reason.

More women are earning college degrees, bringing numbers closer together, with 18 million women and 21 million men with bachelorís degrees working full time. In fact, women are much more likely to have a bachelorís degree than men among full-time, year-round workers, 41.7% to 36.2%, especially among workers under 60.

If pay disparity is a real issue for you, you may want to pick an occupation such as phlebotomist, electrician or social worker, where the earnings gap doesnít exist, especially when education is taken into account.

An argument might be made for age/sex discrimination as well, with occupations in which men on average are older than women have higher earnings on average, than occupations in which women are older.

As it is, women who are employed full-time, year-round are usually secretaries and administrative assistants, registered nurses and elementary and middle-school teachers.

Men are more likely to be driver/sales workers and truck drivers, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, janitor and building cleaners and construction laborers.

Pay disparity probably wonít be a major issue in the upcoming presidential campaign, but it is certainly likely to come up at some point, so it behooves voters to inform themselves on the issue.

Check out the Census report here.

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