Women lose wage premium for certain college majors by mid-career

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Researchers with the NY Fed explored the pay gap between the sexes.

Here were some notable findings:

*Women earn about 97 cents for each dollar earned by men with the same college major and doing the same jobs among recent college graduates.

*Early in their careers, women earn at least as much as men in 29 of 73 majors. Women’s earnings premiums were for majors such as engineering, treatment therapy and art history.

*Women’s wage premium evaporates as workers approach their mid-career.

Here are the researchers’ possible explanations for their findings:

* Discrimination may be “more widespread” as workers approach the middle of their careers.

* Women are more likely than men to drop out of the labor force to raise kids, cutting their work experience.

*Women with care-taking duties who need schedule flexibility may receive low wages.

Read more: The pay gap between the sexes

–Ruth

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Companies crank up using temporary workers

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Alia wrote about “the depths to which private employers will go to extract the most labor from workers for the least cost,” and how on-call workers, those who don’t know when their employers will need them, have trouble making ends meets.

Congressional investigators examined the size of the “contingent” workforce — these are workers who don’t have permanent jobs, tend to earn less than others and are less likely to have access to benefits. The Government Accountability Office found that contingent workers have seen their share of the total labor force grow in recent years, a trend likely tied to the Great Recession. This expansion may explain why there’s been such weak wage growth even though the unemployment rate has trended down for years.

On-call-work issues are particularly salient to women workers. Women tend to make less than men and are more likely than men to head households with only one parent.

–Ruth