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Glassdoor Study Reveals Which College Majors Lead to the Largest Gender Pay Gaps

Education is often touted as the key to overcoming inequity. And on the surface, it makes sense — in order to enter into the highest-paying jobs, you often need technical, highly specialized degrees, which have traditionally been male-dominated. However, Glassdoor’s latest economic study reveals that even within the same major, there can be a significant difference between how much men and women earn, largely due to the occupational sorting that happens after graduation.

Take a look at how the median base pay stacks up differently for men and women five years after graduation for the following fields of study:

10 College Majors Leading to the Biggest Gender Pay Gaps

1. Healthcare Administration
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $40,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $51,250
  • Gender Pay Gap: 22%*
2. Mathematics
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $49,182
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $60,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 18%
3. Biology
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $40,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $46,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 13%
4. Human Resources
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $44,222
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $50,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 11.6%
5. Health Sciences
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $40,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $45,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 11.1%
6. Biomedical Engineering
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $53,450
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $60,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 10.9%
7. Industrial Engineering
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $58,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $65,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 10.8%
8. Business
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $45,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $50,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 10.0%
9. Marketing
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $45,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $50,000
  • Gender Pay Gap: 10.0%
10. Exercise Science
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $40,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $44,232
  • Gender Pay Gap: 9.6%

Glassdoor research also shows that there are a handful of majors that result in a “reverse” unadjusted gender pay gap, in which the median base pay for women is actually more than what it is for men.

10 College Majors Leading to the Biggest “Reverse” Gender Pay Gaps

1. Architecture
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $57,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $50,000
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -14.0%
2. Music
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $44,020
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $40,000
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -10.1%
3. Social Work
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $40,640
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $37,500
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -8.4%
4. Advertising
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $46,500
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $43,020
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -8.1%
5. Environmental Science
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $47,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $44,000
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -6.8%
6. Chemical Engineering
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $63,770
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $60,480
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -5.4%
7. Kinesiology
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $43,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $41,000
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -4.9%
8. Mechanical Engineering
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $68,000
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $66,040
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -3.0%
9. Sports Management
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $42,672
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $42,000
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -1.6%
10. Anthropology
  • Median Base Pay for Women: $41,250
  • Median Base Pay for Men: $40,640
  • Reverse Gender Pay Gap: -1.5%

Regardless of your gender, major, field, or title, Glassdoor encourages you to learn how much you deserve to be paid and negotiate your salary in order to receive equal pay. The gender pay gap is a persistent problem that will certainly not disappear overnight, but transparency, knowledge, and self-advocacy are our biggest assets in the fight against it. For employers, Glassdoor recently published a guide that will help you analyze your own pay data for any existing gaps. For more information on how college majors affect the gender pay gap, read the full study here.

*The gender pay gap in this research refers to the “unadjusted” gender pay gap, defined as the average pay gap comparing all women and all men in the sample.

Methodology: Based on more than 46,900 resumes shared on Glassdoor from individuals who completed college between 2010 and 2017. Full study methodology: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/pipeline-problem-college-majors-gender-pay-gap/