Wednesday, August 19, 2015

If Women Want To Earn More, They Should Study Like Men

Women now outnumber men on American college campuses, and more women are studying and working in what were traditionally considered "men's careers." Yet men still out-earn women at every education level.


The chart below, produced by WaPo, clearly shows that those who study male-dominated majors generally earn more after college than those who study majors that are dominated by women. Each of the squares below represents a college major; the bigger the square,the greater the number of recent graduates. The color of the square indicates the category of study — science, humanities, etc.

Median yearly earnings are shown on the vertical axis: Majors that appear toward the top of the chart tend to earn more, and those toward the bottom earn less. The gender makeup of the major is on the horizontal axis, with majors that are male dominated on the left and female-dominated majors on the right.

Notes Ana Swanson at WaPo:
See how the points slope downward to the right? That shows that female-dominated majors, like elementary education and psychology, tend to be lower earning, while male-dominated majors, especially engineering, tend to earn much more. "Sure enough, there's a clear and significant negative correlation between a college major's median year earnings and gender ratio," [Randy] Olson writes.
There are a few interesting outliers. Nursing is dominated by women (it's 90 percent female) but tends to be relatively highly paid, at least in the initial years after graduating, with $48,000 in median earnings. The same goes for actuarial and computer science. The interesting outlier for the men is criminal justice, which is heavily male but not very highly earning [-RW  note: Adrenalin junkies.]...
Olson speculates on what is driving this trend, but the reasons aren't precisely clear. Through analyzing the data, he rules out the explanation that female-dominated majors are earning less because they didn't find a job after college. He finds there isn't a significant correlation between the gender ratio of a subject and how often its grads get jobs.. 
One theory [paging Larry Summers] that Olson entertains is that male-dominated majors tend to be focused on quantitative skills, which are in general highly valued. Engineering is both male dominated and highly valued and paid by businesses.



  1. The chart you linked to is different than the one in the article. I'm not sure why.

  2. The graph you posted also shows women in computer science at more than 50% which is false based upon the actual sample data. The graph you posted appears incorrect.