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July 25, 2008
Study: Female College Grads Expect to Earn Less
A recent survey found that female college seniors expect to earn less than their male counterparts, and that differences between genders in salary expectations over a 3-year period widen dramatically.

The survey of over 750 graduating college seniors, conducted by an economics professor at Duquesne University, found that 51 percent of the female graduates expected to earn $30,000 or less in the next year, compared to 35 percent of the males.

Meanwhile, men were twice as likely to expect to earn more than $50,000--24 percent of men had this expectation compared to 12 percent for women. And while 59 percent of men expect to reach the $50,000/year earnings threshold by the end of 3 years, only 38 percent of women had this expectation.

The survey findings are part of an inaugural study called the Collegiate Seniors' Economic Expectation Research (SEER) Survey and Index. Dr. Charles Wilf, assistant professor of economics at Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo School of Business Administration, and his undergraduate economics students conduct the survey in order to "spot and track trends in career expectations, anticipated spending habits, credit, debt and other indicators."

One partial explanation for the discrepancies between genders may be the majors chosen by females and males, respectively. In a press release announcing the survey, Wilf noted that the female students surveyed "were clustered in social sciences and education majors, which typically earn less than the computer science and engineering fields more often selected by males."

"Despite decades of talk about gender equality and the fact that a majority of U.S. undergraduate students are female, women's income expectations have not transcended stereotypes," Wilf said. "Exactly why this perception persists is not yet clear."

Source: Duquesne University

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