2014 September 13 Saturday
Choosing A Higher Paying Occupation Pays Better

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields vary greatly in their economic value in the job market. Petroleum engineering and machine learning are hot. Botany, zoology, and library science (really, the people who do this have labeled it a science) are not. Women major in lower paying science subjects while men are much more heavily represented in higher paying engineering, computer science, and math occupations.

Do men (or at least some men) feel more obligated or driven to go for the big bucks? Seems like it.

Men are also much more heavily represented in all the most dangerous occupations. Curiously, aircraft pilot is considered one of the more dangerous occupations.

Why do men make more money? They work in occupations that pay more. The biggest problem with higher education today is that the big growth in college enrollment in recent decades is heavily concentrated in low value majors. Women have piled into these majors more than men have.

In spite of the main reason men dominate in many higher paid occupations (a willingness to study for and work in these occupations) Tyler Cowen would like us to believe that the gender wage gap is going to close. This is the same Tyler Cowen who thinks people who can synergize well with computers have the brightest futures. People who learn quantitative skills, engineering skills, software skills are best prepared to work complementary with computers, not people who want to study subjects that get them into occupations that let them socialize with more people.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 September 13 11:02 PM 

Nick said at September 18, 2014 5:00 AM:

I can vouch for this as a library science major. I've never thought of it, but you're right, it's not a science. I had the good fortune of working as a student in one of the libraries at Stanford University. As I finished my MLIS degree in 2008, I start a full-time position right away. Less than a year later the economic crisis hit and our organization cut 20% of the staff. Every opening that we've had since has received dozens, if not 100 or more applications. Virtually all of them with masters degrees and years of experience, many with 1-2 or more foreign languages.

As far as men being more heavily represented in dangerous occupations and higher paying occupations, I think it goes back to men evolving to provide for women. Most women don't go to college to study low value majors because they must support a family. They do it because it makes them "feel" good. The need for two-income households is a lie. Most parents that work two full-time jobs in the US do so to fuel a consumerist lifestyle, propagated by the Mass Media.

Randall Parker said at September 20, 2014 11:52 PM:


Have you considered switching to a better paid field?

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