It’s not been big news regularly. But for the past almost four decades women have constituted more than half each year’s college graduating classes. That’s been adding up.
So, sometime this year for the first time women will comprise a majority of the college-educated workforce. That’s not just a PC scorecard because higher education is a key determinant of income, meaning eventually the gender pay gap could be closing.
According to the Census Bureau, the average American worker aged 25 or older in 2017 earned about $41,900. The average American worker with at least a college bachelor’s degree earned $61,300. Big difference.
Still, median earnings for males with a degree are higher than for females–$74,900 to $50,200, though women with degrees earn on average more than $15,000 more per year than women overall.
Pew reports only about one-third of American adults over 25 (35 percent) have college degrees. But these folks took home about 57 percent of the economy’s total earnings, $4.7 trillion out of $8.4 trillion in 2017.
And the proportion of women continues to grow, as each year’s college graduating classes are about 57 percent female.
This according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Although women currently make up less than half of the total workforce (46.7 percent), they comprise now an estimated 50.2 percent of the college-educated workforce.
Women’s newly-acquired workforce parity, however, is not spread equally across professions. They make up only 25 percent of college-educated workers in computer professions and only 15 percent in engineering areas.
Still, college-educated women remain less likely than males to be actually in the labor force. Last year, 69.9% of college-educated women were in the labor force, compared with 78.1% of college-educated men.