Pay gap widens between female and male scientists in North America

By | May 5, 2021

In North American education and industry, female scientists with PhDs earn significantly less than their male counterparts, receiving two reports that examine wages in the United States and Canada.

The US National Science Foundation’s Survey of Arned Doctors tracked more than 55,700 people who earned PhDs between 1 July 2018 and 31 June 2019, including more than 33,900 PhDs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and psychology. And the social sciences consisted of over 9,000 people. .

Overall, approximately 35% of all PhD recipients reported having a permanent job upon graduation, and 38% planned to go on to postdoctoral research positions. With a permanent job in hand, the men reported an expected average annual salary of US $ 95,000.

The women reported an average median salary of $ 72,500, a difference of $ 22,500. In a similar survey in 2020, the total gender gap in expected salaries was $ 18,000; The surplus did not report on the salaries of non-binary researchers.

Males were overrepresented in relatively high-paying fields such as computer science and engineering, but inequalities also persisted within fields. For example, men with permanent jobs in the life sciences reported an average median salary of $ 87,000 compared to $ 80,000 for women.

In mathematics and computer science, men reported an estimated average salary of $ 125,000; For women, the figure was $ 101,500. But the gender gap in pay essentially disappeared among postdoctoral researchers. In life sciences, for example, both male and female postdocs reported an average expected salary of $ 50,000.

Salaries and career paths can vary greatly from one scientific discipline to another, says Michael Roach, an economist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Even in areas such as mathematics and computer science, the differences in subspecialties can be largely – but not entirely – explain the gender differences in wages, he says. Roach and a colleague are closely watching disparities in career outcomes for US PhD holders.

They are still compiling the data, but Roach says that it is already clear that women earn less than the average, taking into account all other factors. “In industrial research and development, I can anecdotally say that there are differences that cannot be explained by the ability or degree or reputation of a university,” he explains as an example.

The root causes of those asymmetries are unclear, says Roach. One possibility is that men are more willing to negotiate for higher salaries. Roach notes that some women may have to make concessions to start a family, but it would be wrong to blame all income disparities on lifestyle decisions. “Many men also want to spend more time with their families,” he says.

Roach was the lead author of a 2017 paper examining the relationship between gender and career aspirations of PhD students.

That study found that when they start their PhD programs, women are more likely than men to aspire for careers in the academic field, but both men and women lose interest in academic careers because they Let’s move forward. And while they begin their PhD degrees, men may have academician dreams, but women are more likely to end up there.

Nearly half of all PhDs in the NSD survey were female and only 34% were male academics. Men were more likely to get job offers from industry: 48% of men with PhDs and 27% of their female colleagues had industry employment.

The degree of success, a report by the Council of Canadian Academies, substantial gender differences among workers with Ph.D.s are also detailed.

According to the report, male PhD holders with full-time jobs in Canada reported an average annual salary of more than Can $ 123,500 (approximately US $ 97,000) in 2016. The women reported an average annual salary of over $ 107,500. Salaries for non-binary people were not reported in this survey.

Despite pay gaps, data suggest that women in Canada still have much to gain from their PhDs, says Elizabeth Cannon, committee chair and an engineer at the University of Calgary at the University of Alberta. In 2016, women under 40 with a PhD earned more than $ 10,200 per year with a master’s degree compared to women of the same age group.

“The profit advantage is quite striking,” Cannon says. “The economic payoff is more favorable for women than men.” For men under the age of 40, the salary difference between PhD holders and those with a master’s degree can be $ 8,000.

“Overall, women continue to earn less than men,” Cannon says. “The data suggests that the women are catching, but they have not yet been caught.”

Both reports suggest that a PhD improves overall career and salary prospects, but the true value obviously depends on the field of study, market demand, and reasons that are still unclear, degree holders. Personal.

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