Gen Y Women in Education and the Workplace

Female symbol

Gen Y women are making headway when it comes to equality in the workplace, and HR pros should take note. Women are representing an increasing amount of the Bachelors, Masters, and PhD graduates in the US. Business is also changing, with more females in management positions. While a gender pay gap still exists, it seems the tide is slowly changing towards equality. It will be interesting to see how the impact of a more involved, educated, female workforce will evolve the workplace.

A 2012 study called THE STATE OF YOUNG AMERICA, found that women are dominating on campuses around the country. In high schools in 2010, females students earned 3% more diplomas than the male students. That’s an improvement, compared to 1975, when 3% more male students earned diplomas, a complete reversal.  In 1975, 6% more males than females had completed a bachelor’s degree. In 2010, 8% more females earned bachelor’s degrees than males. According to a study done by Catalina Leadership, women in the US are earning 51% of the doctorate degrees, they comprise 51% of business school applicants, 67% of college graduates, and over 70% of 2012’s Valedictorians. It appears that women are going for it academically. Is it showing in Gen Y’s workforce, however?

Unfortunately, when it comes to working, women still have a ways to go before the achieve gender pay equality. In an infographic displaying data from a survey conducted by PayScale, Gen Y women were found to earn significantly less than men in the same generation. Payscale surveyed 500,000 Gen Y workers, from July 2011 to July 2012. Gen Y workers were defined as anyone born from 1982 to 1993. According to the survey, women earned an average of $35,000 annually, while males earned $44, 600.

The types of jobs women are pursuing seem to be hindering their earning abilities. The most lucrative of the three popular career choices named for Gen Y women by PayScale’s survey, is a Registered Nurse. An RN can average annual salary of $50,200. The other two top career choices named for Gen Y women, were office manager and administrative assistant at an annual salary of $32,600 and $29,300 respectively. For men, the top earning popular career named by PayScale, was a software developer, which earn an average annual salary of $61,900. The other two popular choices named, were mechanical engineers, and web developers. Mechanical engineers earn an average annual salary of $59,300, while web developers earn, $45,100. It seems a recent push for women in the STEM fields is not without merit. Perhaps, as women begin to pursue more STEM careers, the gender pay gap will close.

Women are earning more degrees, and doing better in school than their male contemporaries. While women seem to shy away from STEM fields, and still earn significantly less, it is encouraging to find that females are taking on leadership positions, as indicated by the popular career choice of office manager. Hopefully, as Gen Y women continue to push forward in education and the workplace, the positions chosen, and salary earned, will reflect this. HR pros should take notice of these ambitious female workers, and see to it that they are paid fairly, and reaching their potential.

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Aaron

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