The pay gap among men and women who are just out of college is widening, according to a new report released Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute. The study finds that women earn $17.88 on average during their first four years post-college, while their male counterparts make $20.87 — representing a divide that’s larger than it was more than 10 years ago.
The EPI’s report does show a slight improvement since 2015, when young women earned 83% of what men made (women now earn 86% percent of what men do). Moreover, Equal Pay Day — which marks the point in the year until which the average woman has to work in order to catch up in pay to what the average man made in the prior year — fell on April 4 this year, which was an 8-day improvement from last year.
Yet when we look at the bigger picture, things look more bleak. In 2000, for instance, women just out of college made 91% of what their male counterparts made, according to the EPI.
So why might the gap be widening now? Huffington Post reporter Emily Peck suggests that it could be the result of an increase in income inequality. “The highest-paying jobs in the U.S. are paying even better, and men are landing that work,” she writes. “Think Facebook engineer, Goldman Sachs analyst, etc.”
Moreover, as Peck notes, the study didn’t take into account the kinds of jobs graduates are taking. Women do tend to hold more of the jobs in lower-paying industries (although when analysts have accounted for these kinds of factors, they’ve still found a gender pay gap).
While we know we’ve made some progress in shrinking pay inequities in recent years, the EPI’s report is an important reminder that the pay gap is persisting — and perhaps with more force than we may have thought.
If you’re feeling disheartened, or at least curious about whether you’re being compensated fairly, check our salary database, where you can look up crowdsourced compensation and bonus information by employer, department and title. On this page you’ll also find Payscale’s salary calculator, which also takes into account where you live and work. If you’re beginning to realize you’re overdue for a raise — or you suspect you’re a victim of the gender pay gap — get informed so you can take action!
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