By Laura Pereyra
Latina women have made progress in attaining more higher education in the United States. Today, Latinos make up a record 16.5% of college enrollments, which makes them the largest minority to go to college. This should translate into higher paying jobs and a more equitable pay gap, right? Not quite exactly.
Today, young Latinas graduate to a larger pay gap despite obtaining a higher education. And they are not alone—women are suffering all around from the pay gap. A recent study by NerdScholar, which analyzed the pay gap at its extremes, found that that the worst jobs for equal pay are the top paying jobs with the most education requirements and yield women the highest pay gap.
This means that Latinas pursuing careers as chief executives, marketing/sales managers, and personal finance advisors will face the largest pay gaps. Yes, these jobs pay more but they require more education. In contrast, the top best jobs for equal pay were receptionists, respiratory therapists, and accountants to give a few examples.
Right off the bat, female college graduates get paid just 82 percent of what their male counterparts are paid, according to a report by the American Association of University Women. Latinas fare much worse. On average, a Latina earns just 60 cents to every dollar paid to a man and 55 cents to every dollar paid to a non-Hispanic white man.
If Latinas are gaining more education, taking on more student loans, but graduating to the biggest pay gap, how can they maximize their education investments? The solution is complex and multi faceted but Latinas need to be mindful of this pay gap so that they ask for more and change attitudes at work and at the institutional level.
There is no doubt that a college degree is necessary for Latinas to advance in their careers. Women earn an additional $15,000 with college degrees. It is almost worse if Latinas and women in general don’t have higher education. So Latinas need to be confident, not be afraid to negotiate, and do homework on what their job pays compared to other similar jobs in the market.
Despite the fact that Latinas today are graduating to a high pay gap, it’s important for them to continue moving up the education ladder but to also plan to climb an uphill battle after college when they are advancing their careers. Although the pay gap is still very much in existence, Latinas can do better.
Laura Pereyra is a Communications Analyst at NerdScholar, dedicated to provide students with financial literacy resources, scholarships for Hispanics, and make wiser decisions about their education investments.