After college, pay gender gap begins for most grads -- but not communications major

American Association of University Women

There's no significant gender gap for communications majors a year out of college, according to the American Association of University Women. That's a pleasant contrast to AAUW's overall finding that women make on average 82 percent of what men with the same degrees do one year after they've graduated.

Journalism majors aren't broken out separately in the report. AAUW spokesperson Katie Broendel couldn't give me data on people with that major, but among communications majors defined broadly -- including journalism, broadcast journalism and public relations and advertising, to name a few -- men and women earned $32,290 on average a year out of school in 2009, the last year for which data were available. Earnings of men and women in those fields "were not significantly different," Broendel writes in an email.

Over all among college graduates, "Women working full time earned $35,296 on average, while men working full time earned $42,918." So female communications majors earned 92 percent of what the average female graduate earned, while male communications majors earned 75 percent of what the average male graduate earned.

(Click chart to view larger size)

The study chose people a year out of college working full-time, because on average both men and women are young, unmarried and childless at that point in their lives. Choice of major "explains only part of the pay gap," study co-authors Christianne Corbett and Catherine Hill write. "In some fields, the earnings of men and women were similar, but in no occupational category did women earn significantly more than men."

In the American Society of News Editors' latest newsroom survey, women occupied 37 percent of newsroom jobs, a figure that's varied little since 1999.

Related: Study: J-school grads’ unemployment rate better than average | Reporters make 8 percent less than typical Americans (or maybe they make more)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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