Cengage surveyed nearly 2,500 recent and upcoming graduates and used existing public data to measure the opportunity environment for graduates across various indicators.
The survey found a glaring gender gap among recent college graduates entering the workforce. One in every five women reported a lack of confidence in getting a job that meets their salary expectations. Overall, 75 percent of men and 62 percent of women expressed confidence in getting a job.
“The cornerstone of the American dream is that everyone deserves an equal and fair opportunity to succeed,” said Sharon Loeb, Executive Vice President of Cengage. “And yet, the persistent gender gap among recent college graduates in areas such as salary expectations underscores that we have more work to do in order to create a level playing field.”
The survey found a huge pay gap between the income earned by women – especially minorities – to every dollar earned by white, non-Latino men. In comparison to 80 cents, earned by white women, African American women earn 63 cents, Native Americans earn 57 cents, while Latina women earn 54 cents.
When asked about the financial and political outlook of the country, more than half of women said the country is going in the wrong direction, while half of men were more likely to think the country is going in the right direction.
The survey also looked at the physical and mental health of the respondents. More than 80 percent of men reported satisfaction with their mental health, compared to 65 percent of women. The percentage points drop further to 58 when the physical health of women is considered.
On a positive note, the survey revealed that 56 percent of women graduate with no debt compared to 36 percent of men. For women who owe student debt, the average amount of debt was reported slightly higher at $23,656 compared to $22,078 for men.