One of the main reasons people choose to go to college is the belief that a degree will lead to high paying jobs in the security sector.
However, new research shows that this commitment is especially important for men.
Bankrate recently analyzed the most lucrative bachelor’s degrees available to graduates, many of whom earn six-figure average salaries upon graduation.
However, the data also showed that nearly four-fifths of graduates with these degrees were men and just 22 per cent were women.
A degree with a six-figure salary
Bankrate found that STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) dominate the 20 highest-paying degrees to enter the workforce.
Bankrate analyzed data for 151 majors and the median earnings of college graduates and found that electrical engineering had the highest return on student loans relative to earnings.
Electrical engineers earned a median annual salary of $110,000, followed by computer engineers at $104,000.
Some degrees have a median annual salary of $100,000: aerospace engineering, computer science, chemical engineering and pharmacy, pharmaceutical science, and management.
However, of the 20 highest-paying degrees (which also includes majors such as physics, mechanical and civil engineering, economics and applied mathematics), only one course welcomes more women than men: pharmacy. According to a Bankrate analysis, 56 percent of graduates in the program are women.
STEM degrees ‘do not secure gender pay gap’
Bankrate has found that outside of pharma, degree subjects dominated by women are associated with much lower earning potential, with experts pointing out that even those women with STEM degrees face pay equity barriers.
The five majors with the highest percentage of female degree holders include early childhood education ($43,000 average salary), communication disorders ($57,000), family and consumer services ($45,000) elementary education ($48,40) and nursing ($70,000 Dollar).
Bankrate analyst Alex Gailey said: “The fact that women have outnumbered men on college campuses for decades, yet the gender gap remains so wide in lucrative college majors, shows that women Still catching up.”
Even women with STEM degrees can be paid less than their male colleagues, she noted.
“We know that women who study these high-paying degrees continue to earn less than their male counterparts once they enter the workforce,” she told us wealth. “In other words, a STEM degree does not ensure closing the gender wage gap.”
A 2021 study by the Pew Research Center found that women in STEM careers earn a median of $66,200, about 74 percent of the $90,000 earned by men in those jobs.
This is a slight increase from 2016, when the gender pay gap in STEM jobs was 72%.
Women ‘losing millions’
Women are over-represented in lower-paying degrees and under-represented in higher-paying degrees, which has a “compounding effect” leading to women earning less throughout their careers, Gailey said.
“The difference in pay between male-dominated majors and female-dominated majors is in the tens of thousands of dollars, which can mean millions of dollars lost over a lifetime for women,” she said.
The best way to address this gap in the long run is to start addressing it as soon as possible, experts say wealth.
Yuxi He, co-founder of Knovva Academy, a Boston-based education consulting firm, said women often say they don’t feel like they belong in STEM careers, so it’s important to develop female talent in science from an early age.
She offers advice for women and girls looking to advance their careers in STEM-focused industries.
“In order to stand out in the ever-growing competitive landscape, students need to gain STEM-related experience through extracurricular activities such as math, chemistry and biology clubs,” she said.
“We would like to see students go a step further, such as entering a national competition, building robots to solve problems in the community, or conducting a research project on how safe and clean a local swimming pool is. Their interests should demonstrate a path in STEM fields while They should also demonstrate versatility in using their STEM skills to serve the community or extend their reach into non-STEM fields.”
Applicants also stand out if they show a “genuine and sustained interest” in the field, he added.
“Good academic records and test scores are the foundation, but students need to get out of the classroom and present themselves as unique and qualified applicants,” she said. “They need to start building their personal brand early on.”