On graduation day, men and women walk across the stage as equals to get their college diplomas. But one year later, a new study shows, female graduates can expect to be earning less — about 82 cents on the dollar — than their male peers. The old problem of a pay gap is already prevalent in the newest generation to enter the workforce.
According to the report by the American Association of University Women, female graduates have a lower rate of full time employment, hold far more administrative jobs, and make up a smaller percentage of the industries that pay the most.
But female graduates also earn less even when they have the same major and same jobs, particularly those who majored in engineering, computer science, business, and the social sciences:
This study points to discrimination in hiring and pay practices, where women are expected to do the same job for less. This reaffirms a recent study that compared the hiring tendencies of science labs on college campuses, which found men were hired and paid more even with identical resumes to female candidates. It also blows a hole in the argument that women are paid less because they take time off to have children, since most female graduates entering the workforce aren’t immediately dropping back out of it.
Closing the pay gap could have a huge impact — and not just for women. The Huffington Post reports that making pay equal by gender would create a stimulus with the potential to grow the US economy by 3 to 4 percent. That’s more than double what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did, and that stimulus hugely helped the US recovery.