I have long noticed that "male" jobs pay more than "female" jobs. Olson's analysis confirms this suspicion.
More below the fold.
"The trend that’s immediately apparent from this chart is that female-dominated majors make less on average than male-dominated majors. Some interesting exceptions to the trend are Nursing (90% women; $48k median earnings) and Transportation Science (12% women; $35k median earnings), where Nursing especially stands out as a relatively lucrative major despite being primarily women."
He then crunches numbers busting some myths until he finally crunches these numbers.
"Perhaps this all makes sense now: It seems possible that male-dominated majors — such as Engineering, Physics, and Computer Science — earn more than female-dominated majors because male-dominated majors are often more quantitative in nature. These quantitative majors are often employed by large companies to design products, perform data analysis, manage the company, etc., and their salaries are higher to match the responsibilities of the job.
It’s another question of whether businesses and governments should value the services provided by quantitative majors more than, say, Education majors, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day."
Provided the markets for employment are actually free, the difference in wage is due to the fact that employers must pay a higher wage for some of the jobs, but do not have to pay such a high wage for other jobs.
Olson does a good job here but I think there are a few more things happening.
Men and women want different things out of work. The same can be said for the college majors they choose. Women generally want more security, men generally want more opportunity, men are willing to take far more physical risks, and work more physically demanding jobs, as well as work longer hours, take fewer and shorter vacations.
The wage gaps, and the analysis discussed above are not exactly on point with the question asked by Olson but they offer some insight into what seems to be happening. Men and women seem to view work differently. Men choose majors which will lead to long term careers, with more opportunities, and which will pay well, they seem to view their purpose as to make more money. Women simply choose majors differently, likely because they view their purpose differently than men. Women also want a career, but they appear to view their purpose as raising a family, and secondarily as a career. The choices each makes are understandable.
So, men are more quantitative than women, willing to work longer hours with less vacation time, at more dangerous, difficult and more physical jobs, and place themselves at the command of the employer more readily, and they are unlikely to leave the workforce to rear children. Woman on the other hand are less quantitive, want more flexibility in the job, and more security, with fewer physical discomforts, and a greater ability to leave to rear children and later return.
What is going on is a self selection process where each sex is generally choosing jobs which maximize their goals, the more "male" jobs pay more because it is much more difficult to find high quality workers for these jobs, the people who take the jobs work longer, under more difficult conditions, and with fewer breaks in work status, while the "female" jobs pay less because they are more flexible, require less work time, offer more work status breaks, etc. We also have to remember that this process is happening early in lives of the individual, and as such they are likely to want to maximize their opportunities for both work, career, marriage, family, etc. This will make men even more likely to shift towards earning careers, and women to shift towards secure, flexible careers.
Why we are surprised when people maximize their economic potentials, and outcomes is unclear. We find it difficult to understand why, as a group, men or women would choose a particular career path, yet we do not find it difficult to understand why a couple with a large family would choose a Chevy Suburban as opposed to a Chevy Corvette, while a couple with no children are might choose the Corvette over the Suburban. This commonly goes so far that childless couples who intend to have children will purchase a large vehicle even if they intend to wait on family for a few years.
At least some of this inability to see the simple and obvious seems to be driven by the Academe's crazy progressive feminist fallacy that there are no differences between men and women.
The general rule is, believing things which are untrue make it difficult to understand the real world.