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Campus Overload
Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 10/24/2012

Starting salaries: How can women catch up with the guys?


The American Association of University Women released a report today showing that one year after graduating college, men already made more money than women.

Overall, the pay gap was 18 percent. When adjusting for different career choices and other variables, the gap was 6.6 percent. (You can read more here: “One year out of college, women already paid less than men, report finds.”)

In addition to explaining the gap and possible reasons for it, the association’s researchers also gave a list of recommendations for narrowing and dissolving the gap. The researchers advocated for employers to increase transparency in their pay and evaluation systems, along with urging policy makers to strength and pass pay equity laws, protect Pell grant funding and protect students from questionable loans.

They noted: “A problem as long-standing and widespread as the pay gap, however, cannot be solved by the actions of individual women alone. Employers and the government have important roles to play.”

But they also laid out a number of things that students and others can do. Here are a few, which I pulled directly from chapter four of the report, “Graduating to a Pay Gap”:

High school and college students
* Educate yourself about typical salaries for various college majors. Consider future earnings when making the critical decision of college major. Your choice will affect the economic security of you and your family throughout your lifetime.
* If you must borrow money for college, educate yourself about the terms associated with public and private student loans. Exhaust your federal borrowing options before considering more risky private student loans.
*Attend a $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop at a campus near you.

Recent college graduates
* Consider future earnings when deciding which job to pursue. Like college major, occupation has a significant effect on earnings. Your paycheck affects many parts of your life, from quality of life to your health to your retirement savings. Choose your occupation carefully.
* Know what your skills are worth in the labor market. Be skeptical of salary offers and pay raises, and negotiate if you believe your contributions are worth more.
* Consider pursuing a job where you are represented by a union.
Parents and teachers
* Help your children and students understand the financial implications of various fields of study and work so they can make well-informed decisions.

Again, you can read the full report here: “Graduating to a Pay Gap.”

By  |  01:36 PM ET, 10/24/2012

 
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