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College Gives Women an Employment Edge Over Men

College Gives Women an Employment Edge Over Men

Women reap more benefits than men from a college degree.

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

March 04, 2011

It’s a fact: those with college educations generally have a better chance of finding a job. But a recently released study on young adults indicates a college degree is even more important for women.

Young women who have not graduated college have a tougher time finding a job than men in the same boat, the study found. But in contrast, women with college degrees spend less time than men unemployed.

Men and women who were college graduates at age 23 were equally likely to be employed. But at lower levels of educational attainment, women were less likely to have a job than men with the same education level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ findings say.

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The study, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, surveyed 9,000 young men and women who were born during the years 1980 to 1984, over a 12 year period. The respondents were age 22 in October during the years 2002 to 2007 and age 23 in October from 2003 to 2008.

The study found that of 23 year olds, 68 percent of male high school dropouts were employed in October, compared with 50 percent of female dropouts.

Among high school graduates with no college under their belt, 77 percent of men and 73 percent of women were employed.

Of those who attended some college but didn’t earn a degree, 83 percent men and 79 percent of women had jobs. These numbers do not include those serving in the military.

And, there are even more benefits for women with college degrees. Women with a college degree spent less time unemployed than men. Women with a bachelor’s degree or even higher levels of education, spent 74 percent of their weeks employed, while men were employed for only 65 percent of the same time.

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By age 23, there is a clear gender gap in educational attainment. When it comes to college graduation rates, women are outpacing men.

Women were 1.6 times as likely as men to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the age of 23 – a gap experts don’t expect to fluctuate much in the near future.

While nearly 1 in 4 women had earned a bachelor’s degree by the October when they were age 23, only 1 in 7 men had done so, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Women were also less likely than men at age 23 to be high school dropouts or high school graduates not enrolled in college.


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