Thursday, November 17, 2016

Women’s Additional Education Doesn’t Sway the Wage Gap

More women in Oregon hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees than men. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there were 465,000 Oregon women with a bachelor’s degree or higher, accounting for 52 percent of the population with a bachelor’s degree or more education. Oregon’s jobs are just about evenly split between female and male workers, with female workers occupying 49 percent of the state’s jobs. Males are slightly more concentrated in lower education groups, with 58 percent of the jobs where workers have less than a high school education held by males.

While women tend to have a bit more education than men in the workforce, that education doesn’t act to reduce the level of earnings disparity between male and female workers. Overall, the average monthly earnings of female workers – not taking into account the type of job or differences in work schedules – were $3,329 in the third quarter of 2015, compared with $4,790 for males. That’s 69 percent of men’s earnings. For the group of workers with less than a high school education, women’s earnings were 74 percent of men’s earnings. For those with a high school education up to an associate degree, females earned 70 percent of males’ average earnings. With a bachelor’s or advanced degree, females earned on average just 63 percent of the average male earnings.

This pattern holds true across the economy, to a certain extent. Industries with a large share of low-wage jobs tend to have more similar average earnings figures for males and females. The wage floor provided by the minimum wage means that the low-wage workforce is paid more similarly than the high-wage workforce. Averages for the high-wage workforce are influenced by a small number of super-earners. The workforce at higher levels of education attainment is going to be affected more by the breadth of available positions and pay scales than the workforce with little education.

Read the full article "Women’s Additional Education Doesn’t Sway the Wage Gap", written by Jessica Nelson.

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