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
|Family and consumer science|
|Public administration/social work|
|Visual and performing arts|
|Family and consumer science||$32,140|
|Public administration/social work||$38,337|
|Visual and performing arts||$38,470|
Figure 2: Majors in which women account for less than 50 percent of degrees conferred
|Mathematics and statistics|
|Parks and recreation|
|Mathematics and statistics||$58,554|
|Parks and recreation||$34,455|