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More Data Points on Engineering Pay

August 9, 2011

I spent a whole week talking about engineering employment and pay on here before. I talked about engineering jobs by state, engineering jobs by discipline, engineering employment numbers, and mechanical engineering employment and pay. Georgetown University recently released a report that would seem to show that across the board women have to earn a PhD to earn the same as a man with a BA.

Over at Pharyngula this was covered with the sorts of typical responses and excuses: “women choose lower paying professions”, “women take time off for babies”, “I don’t think this study proves there’s institutional sexism”. One of the early commenters even predicted these sorts of excuses would be made. One of the few people willing to speak up for equal pay rights cited this study that shows a pretty serious gender pay gap across plenty of very specific occupations.

I was hoping to pull up some BLS data along the lines of the employment data I pulled up before but it turns out there are apparently not enough women in engineering fields that the Bureau is willing to provide weekly wage data broken up by gender in those particular occupations. They do show a gap across all engineering occupations, but I’m hesitant to use that data as it’s more of an industry breakdown not necessarily for specific jobs which was what I wanted to look at.

In the meantime while hunting around I found this article from the ASME (American Society for Mechanical Engineers). There’s some interesting salary data in there, namely that salaries are higher for engineers in the “pacific southwest states”. They also have median salaries by educational achievement showing that those with a BS earn $82,000 compared to $92,000 for those with an MS. The median salary for female engineers is $75,000 compared to $91,600 for their male colleagues. That means women are earning about 82% as much as men.

I’m sure some men will jump in and point out that this doesn’t adjust for education (how many non-degreed female engineers do you know?) or hours worked, or time taken off to care for babies. And in a way they are right. Until the data is complete and precise, there’s no way we will convince the naysayers. I keep pulling out this two year old study from Glassdoor that shows that for women and men with 0 to 3 years of experience working in engineering, women earn 96% of men. Once you get into the 4-6 years experience range that pay gap widens to about 91%. Still, I suspect those that don’t want to see a gap will continue not to see it.

(Image from the Northwestern University Library)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2011 11:20 am

    The menz don’t want to see a gap because then they know their ‘success’ is because of the dangly bits in their pants, not their brains or work skills that got them where they are careerwise and their bank accts. The menz would have to admit that the playing field is stacked to favor men and that they were lucky to be born male. I knew the menz cupcakes would launch into the WATM crap. I had a good LOLSOB reading Sally and others rip the d00dz new ones.

    I worked in industry for a few years. With a PhD, I was paid the same rate as men with BS. They got raises, I did not. I asked multiple times. I did extra work. My boss told me to ‘work less’ rather than ‘want more.’ So I did work less (turned my brain off), then I quit. My job was given to a dude who hadn’t finished his BS, at the same pay rate as when I left.

  2. August 10, 2011 11:24 am

    Also, the toll that quitting has on a career can be devasting for women. It’s not just teh babiez that leads to career stoppage. It’s women not being allowed to advance, not being treated fairly, not being groped, etc….. and every time a woman leaves a job because of horrible treatment, she has to reset her career, her 401k matching/vested, her pension, her time-in, yadda yadda… somewhere new, at the bottom, yet again. It’s very rare for a woman to be able to move laterally or up from one job to another.

  3. frautech permalink*
    August 11, 2011 9:56 am

    Wow I never though about the barriers to lateral movement but you are right. It helps further explain why all the higher up women at MegaCorp (all two of them, j/k…sort of) are all home grown. All the high up outside candidates have been men. It’s like the extra work a woman has to do to prove herself doesn’t get past going to a new place. All the women I know in industry who moved to another company had to take a step down. But it’s almost like it’s become the norm so much so that I didn’t even think about it.

  4. August 11, 2011 3:56 pm

    I’m sure the whopping 2 women are home grown, but they have proved themselves of sufficient value to the d00dz around them, personally. Each man who promotes a woman has to feel slowly over a longggg ass time like she is not a threat if she were given more power (which is really a mute point because the menz club make sure she is isolated by numbers). And the time it takes the woman to prove her worth (1/2 a man or at best 70% of a man) is much greater than the time it would take a man to prove his worth (1 whole man and 100% man, 1 whole minute of assessment I’m sure).

    yeah, I have done alot of quitting horrible jobs. I’ve watched my non-vested 401k contribs disappear multiple times now, I’m wondering what will happen to the pension contribs from the job I recently quit. I’m in the middle of totally switching careers to get back to my family, have job security in a high demand field, and put roots down so that I can work my way up the ladder in a field that is mostly women. Thank fuckin maud bout damn time.

  5. Tall Person permalink
    March 28, 2012 11:54 pm

    This is a very nice blog. I’d like to propose that It’s possible that the difference in pay between men and women is only a correlation effect of height discrimination. Do we have pay data for women engineers over six feet tall?

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