Emolument: Science graduates earn less than people who study humanities


It’s usually a given that science graduates will go onto earn more money than their humanities counterparts because they are likely to have high-paying career paths ahead of them, such as engineering, banking, research and development, and coding.

However, new research from pay-data website Emolument just completely crushed this assumption as it found that students who study arts based subjects actually end up earning more than their science studying peers.
Emolument took data from both the US and UK and found that while science grads get a bit of a headstart straight out of university in terms of pay, in later life it’s people with humanities degrees who tend to get bigger pay cheques.

The data compares graduates with a bachelors degree in the arts (BA) and sciences (BSc), and doesn’t take into account further qualifications.
In the UK, scientists with less than five years experience generally get about £2,000 ($3,100) more than people with arts degrees, and by the time they’ve got up to ten years in the job, the gap widens to £4,000 ($6,200) per year.
But after that, things change, and the humanities students start to reap the rewards for writing all those essays while the scientists toiled away in labs.

A British humanities student with 10-15 years of experience in their field can expect to earn around £85,000 ($131,000) per year, compared to the £75,000 ($116,000) scientists will take home.
On the other side of the pond humanities students don’t start to get paid better than scientists quite as early, but they eventually end up with the same advantage.
EmolumentEmolument’s data shows the salary gap between B.A. and B.Sc. graduates
Emolument puts the early career pay gap down to what it calls a lack of “technical skills” within the graduate job market, meaning that those from scientific backgrounds – who are more likely to possess technical and numerical skills – can command a higher price for their time.

However, by the time workers have greater experience, the numerical skills and attention to detail possessed by scientists are valued less than qualities such as leadership and an ability to see the bigger picture.
Positions like managers and strategists tend to bring in the highest monetary rewards and are more likely to be occupied by humanities grads.
B.A. graduates in the US and UK with more than 15 years experience get paid 7% more than B.Sc. grads. In America, this equates to a salary boost of $14,000 (£9,000). The average salary over all sectors for the most experienced arts graduates is $191,000 (£124,000).

This might seem pretty high, but considering it includes jobs like banking, maybe it’s not so surprising.
Even though humanities grads eventually earn more, Emolument’s data shows that the graduates who have the biggest gap in their salaries are those in US with 5-10 years of experience. In this category, science grads earn a massive amount more, 29%, than people who take humanities subjects.

This means that while humanities grads are taking home a pay packet of $94,000 (£61,000), the scientists get as much as $132,000 (£85,000).

Alice Leguay, COO & Co-Founder at Emolument puts this gap down to a “perfect remuneration storm” saying “In the US, the generation of science alumni already 5-10 years into their careers is a beneficiary of a perfect remuneration storm: in a professional environment where tech is king, they are the first wave of ‘tech managers’ to come of age.
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