Pay gap isn’t going away

Reports recently released by the American Association of University People indicate a gender pay gap not only still exists in the American workforce but often reveals itself the moment people accept their first job.

“People working full time one year after college graduation are paid an average of 18 percent less than people also working full time one year after receiving a bachelor’s degree, according to “Graduating to a Pay Gap.”images-3

“Some of the difference may be because many people pursue majors and enter careers that offer less pay. Some of it could be caused by varying levels of salary negotiation skills or other factors. But in many cases, the study suggests, part of the gap results from gender alone.

“So many times people hear about the overall pay gap and say ‘That’s because people are making different choices,'” said Christianne Corbett, AAUW senior researcher and one of the report’s authors. “We were really trying to get at a group that was as close to the same as possible right out of college … and we still found a gap.”

“Fifty years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, college people probably are not surprised to hear a gender pay gap remains, but some are reluctant to talk about it. Some say they would confront an employer if they felt their salary was unjust, but others say they feel powerless to change a problem so daunting, especially while in hot pursuit of any job offering a full-time salary in a challenging economy.

“Researchers say the gap is problematic not only because it still exists, but because a portion cannot be explained by factors such as college major, grades, hours worked or occupation. Decreasing both the “explained” and “unexplained” segments will require increased education for people about topics like negotiating a salary, Corbett said, but also a change in attitude among employers.”


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