We’ve all heard that "women earn 77 cents on the dollar" compared to men, and there’s plenty of statistical data to back up this assertion. You may also be familiar with some of the common explanations for this discrepancy -- women select lower-paying professions, are less likely to negotiate their salary, are victims of an oppressive patriarchy, are less likely to speak up and so on.
But a recent study by members of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has shown that this paradigm is starting to shift, at least for recent college graduates. They found that not only was the wage gap less pronounced for this young group, but women were actually out-earning men in a number of professions (eat dust, guys!).
So here are 10 jobs where female graduates earn more than their male counterparts. And no -- "waitress" and "barmaid" are not the top two, you chauvinistic pig!
1. Social Services
"Social services" is an umbrella term that covers a diverse range of jobs including child services, school counselors, social healthcare and community services. If there’s a common thread amongst all of these professions, it’s the basic principle of helping others.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that women tend to do better than men in this field, given their more altruistic nature (sorry guys -- it’s true). As the study showed, female graduates in social services earn 16 percent more on average than males.
2. Treatment Therapy
Treatment therapy is also a relatively broad field that includes jobs such as physical, occupational and psychological therapy, as well as rehabilitation services. Again, all of these professions are focused on helping people in some way (are you seeing a pattern yet?).
According to the study, women who major in treatment therapy subjects earn roughly 11 percent more than men straight out of college. So ladies -- if you’re looking for a career that pays well and offers the kind of reward that only comes with helping others, this might be one to consider!
3. Industrial Engineering
Industrial engineers deal with the development, implementation and optimisation of complex integrated processes and systems, whatever that means. Put simply, they figure out how to do things better.
It’s yet another incredibly diverse field that can lead to careers in everything from financial services to supply chain management to ergonomic engineering. And there’s more good news if you’re a woman -- the study showed you could earn around 10 percent more than men with your industrial engineering major!
4. Art History
It’s often said that studying the arts in college is more or less pointless and that graduates in this field are almost unemployable when they go out into the real world. Indeed, you might have a better chance feeding a family of four with a large pizza than you would with an art history degree.
But for those art and history students who do make it after college, a number of lucrative career options await, including museum or gallery curator, arts administrator, heritage officer and auctioneer. The outlook is particularly rosy for women -- they earn roughly 9 percent more than men in art history jobs.
5. Aerospace Engineering
It turns out there’s a high demand for women to build planes and spaceships, with female graduates earning 8 percent more than their male colleagues in the field of aerospace engineering. This is further proof, as if it were needed, that science and mechanics are not solely the domain of men.
Aerospace engineers deal with a number of fancy and complicated-sounding subjects such as aero- and astrodynamics, structural mechanics, avionics (on-board electrical systems) and mathematics. It’s the one career that actually is "rocket science" -- think you’ve got what it takes?
6. Construction Services
Ever seen a female bricklayer? Me neither. But mildly-sexist observations aside, the construction industry is becoming an increasingly viable -- and lucrative -- career option for women straight out of college.
According to the Fed’s study, female graduates can expect to earn around 8 percent more than guys in this field. The range of careers available isn’t just limited to building walls and laying pipes, either. You could be an architect, project manager, cost estimator, civil engineer -- the job options are almost endless.
7. Business Analytics
Do you have a natural talent for solving problems? Are you super-efficient and organised? Do you use spreadsheets in ways no-one else would ever think of, like planning your latest Minecraft project or choosing a name for your first-born child?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be perfect for a career in business analytics. As an analyst, you would be tasked with assessing business processes and improving performance in areas like sales and cost control. And if you’re a woman, you could earn as much as 7 percent more than men in business analytics. Awesome!
8. Mechanical Engineering
If you thought only guys could get down and dirty under the hood of a car, you thought wrong. There are plenty of women entering the field of mechanical engineering, and they can earn as much as 4 percent more than men straight out of college.
The career options for graduates in mechanical engineering are extensive. You could work to develop plant machinery, heating and cooling systems, air- and watercraft, robotics and even weapons! All you need is a solid understanding of physics, thermodynamics and applied maths -- easy-peasy, right?
9. Earth Sciences
How much do you love rocks? If the answer is "OMG I’m obsessed with them David!", then you might be suited to a career in Earth Sciences. All joking aside, it’s an incredibly interesting field of study that can help us understand and predict the inner workings of this great big ball we call home.
As an Earth scientist (or geoscientist), you might find yourself researching the planet’s oceans, mountains and ecosystem or working to find a solution to global warming and the energy crisis. And if you’re a woman, you could earn 3 percent more than men while doing it. How cool is that?
10. Nutrition Sciences
Are you a foodie? A nutrition nut? One of those folks who stuffs "healthy eating" down everyone’s throat with an energy that borders on fascism? Then why not get paid for it! Seriously, though, nutrition science is an important subject -- all the more so given our declining health and rampant obesity!
It’s a subdivision of healthcare and research which deals with understanding the body’s metabolism and physiological responses to diet, and can lead to jobs in molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics, or as a nutritional consultant. As a female graduate, you could earn around 3 percent more than men in this field. You also get to help people lose weight and improve their health -- sweet!
This is all fantastic news -- the worm has turned on wage equality, right? Not so fast: the study also showed that by mid-career (about age 35-45), these wage premiums completely disappear as male earnings catch up to and exceed women’s. So much for progress!
But what can be done about this? Well, there are a few things: We can continue to campaign for better wage legislation, improve family leave policies to ensure the burden of childcare is shared across genders, and encourage women to develop their negotiation skills. Oh, and don’t forget to smash the patriarchy!
What do you think is the key to solving the gender pay gap issue? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below: