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  • Gender Representation and Salary Offers by Major

    February 22, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Compensation
    Class of 2016 grads smile on their graduation day.

    TAGS: compensation, salaries, trends and predictions, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    NACE recently examined the average starting salary offers of Class of 2015 bachelor’s degree recipients across 27 majors to illustrate the broad imbalance in earning potential between men and women on the basis of academic field of study. The results were reported as part of the story titled “Exploring Gender Bias in Starting Salary Offers Among STEM Majors” that ran in the February 2017 issue of the NACE Journal.

    Even this simple comparison makes it clear that fields of study—STEM or otherwise—with wider male representation, for the most part, have far greater earning potential upon graduation. (See figures 1 and 2.)

    Overall, the median of the average starting salary offers for female-dominated majors was $38,125, while the median for male-dominated majors was $44,104—a difference of 14.5 percent.

    Class of 2015: Gender Representation and Average Starting Salary Offer

    Figure 1: Majors in which women account for 50 percent or more of degrees conferred

    Major Average Salary
    Family and consumer science $32,140
    Biology $34,629
    Psychology $34,801
    Environmental science $35,236
    Education $35,686
    Communications/journalism $36,847
    Agriculture $37,012
    English $38,125
    Public administration/social work $38,337
    Visual and performing arts $38,470
    Foreign language $38,537
    Social science $40,964
    Cultural studies $43,524
    Interdisciplinary studies $47,007
    Healthcare/nursing $49,851
    Source: “Exploring Gender Bias in Starting Salary Offers Among Stem Majors,” NACE Journal, February 2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Majors in which women account for less than 50 percent of degrees conferred

    Major Average Salary
    Computer science $69,214
    Engineering $63,764
    Mathematics and statistics $58,554
    Engineering technology $54,316
    Business $51,452
    Physical sciences $45,507
    Architecture $42,701
    Protective services $41,641
    Philosophy $40,942
    History $38,936
    Parks and recreation $34,455
    Theology $30,548
    Source: “Exploring Gender Bias in Starting Salary Offers Among Stem Majors,” NACE Journal, February 2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers