Gender Affects Occupations and Wages of Humanities Majors, Reports Say

Reports: “Gender and the Occupations of Humanities Majors” and “Effects of Gender on the Earnings of Humanities Majors”

Organization: The Humanities Indicators project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Summary: Men and women who earned degrees in the humanities have notable differences in their earnings and post-college occupations, according to two reports released on Monday by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Data for the reports were collected from the American Community Survey, which is administered by the U.S. Census Bureau.

For people who earned bachelor’s degrees in the humanities, men were more likely to have jobs in fields such as management, sales, the sciences, and engineering and computing. Women outpaced men in office and administrative-support jobs by 10 percent.

It was also more common for women to work in postsecondary education and in health-care services, and women with both bachelor’s and advanced degrees were twice as likely as men to work in precollegiate teaching. Gender differences in occupation persisted even when individuals with bachelor’s degrees in the humanities earned advanced degrees in any field of study.

And while the gender pay gap affected all women in the humanities, older employees saw a starker contrast in their median income.

Among people with bachelor’s degrees, men under the age of 34 earned an average of 5 percent more than did women of the same age and level of education. That difference was much larger in an older age bracket: Men over the age of 35 earned 33 percent more than did their female peers.

For those with advanced degrees, the higher the pay, the more pronounced the gap in later career years. One in four older male humanities majors earned $146,000 in 2013 — compared with $101,000 for women.

Bottom Line: Though nearly half of humanities majors — 42 percent — have at least one advanced degree, wages remain unequal for women, who tend to be in lower-paying positions and to receive less money than men, even when working in the same field.

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