As the end of summer rolls around, many adults and children are getting into “Back to School” mode. Everywhere, kids are packing lunches, teens are doing some last minute summer reading, and college students are returning to dorm rooms. Meanwhile, many recent graduates from the Class of 2013 are still struggling to find full-time jobs, stuck in a limbo between academic and professional life.
Unemployment for young adults just out of college is on the rise. According to The Atlantic, over 53% of recent graduates in 2012 were either unemployed or working at a job that did not require a college degree. These rates are dependent on a number of issues – the degree earned, the number of jobs offered, and a growing need for “middle-skill” positions that can be acquired with an associate’s or technical degree. However, what is surprising is the fact that even gender plays a role in graduation rates and unemployment, resulting in a pay gap that can be seen in companies across the area.
As of this year, women hold 60% of the Bachelor’s degrees in the United States; female students are more likely to stay in school and obtain four-year degrees, while students who drop out of college and work full-time are predominantly male. In those who do graduate from college, women are more likely to struggle with college debt, unemployment, and pay gaps, attributed to the different choices that male and female students make throughout their education, i.e. fields majored in, classes taken, and career paths chosen. As the American Associate of University Women (AAUW) illustrates in their study “Graduating to a Pay Gap”, a pay gap between men and women already exists in as little as one year after college graduation.
The gender gap can be found in businesses hiring across the DC area. After filling out a resume for an entry-level position in a financial services company, for example, I found that only one of the ten executive board members was female, and each of the thirteen advisors and analysts on staff was male. Companies like these are not only telling of gender inequality in the business world, but are discouraging for female graduates. The glass ceiling becomes a secondary problem as young women across the country struggle with an almost inevitable gender payment gap before their diplomas even arrive in the mail.