Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gender Discrimination in the Workforce Starts At Graduation

Apparently it sucks to have a uterus (beyond the obvious reasons), at least if you want pay equity, even right out of college.  A new study by NACE explore this phenomenon.

Two explanations most often profered to explain why women earn approximately 75% what men earn in identical positions are centered on older women.  The first is that many women entered the workforce prior to the achievements of the 80s and consequently started at a lower rate than their male counterparts.  A second is that "many" women leave the workforce to pursue a family only to return later after a significant employment and salary history gap which results in lower comparable wages to their male counterparts.  But these don't explain the gap in pay for women just out of college.
Both of these explanations appear to have some validity and some impact on the overall gender differential. However, they do not explain the lower starting salaries that women still encounter when they begin their careers after graduating college. The data presented here are not definitive but they are consistent in building a prima facie case that wage discrimination based on gender continues to exist and will likely persist unless measures are developed to adequately protect women—the coming majority of America’s professional work force.
The variance is shocking.
The median starting salary offer received by female graduates from the class of 2010 was nearly $8,000 less than for male graduates, or about 83 percent of the overall median for males.

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