Illinois receives C+ rating in employment, earnings

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Illinois receives C+ rating in employment, earnings

Toni Pantone

Toni Pantone

Toni Pantone

By Madalyn Velisaris, Staff Writer

Illinois received a grade of C-plus in employment and earnings for women, which puts the state in the middle third of the country, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The rating is based off four subcategories, which are women’s median annual earnings for full-time year-round workers, ratio of women’s to men’s earnings, women’s labor force participation and percent of all employed women in managerial or professional occupations.

All four factors have shown improvement in Illinois since 2004, ranging from 0.4 to 8.3 percent, and women in the state have received an average increase of $1,043 in yearly earnings. However, the C-plus rating did not change since 2004.

If the current direction of improvement continues, Illinois will not have equal pay between genders until 2065, according to the study.

Julie Anderson, senior research associate for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said Illinois has gone up slightly overall in employment and earnings, whereas a lot of states have decreased, even though more women are receiving a higher education.

Anderson brought up points about how students at the University can help combat the wage gap.

“I think it is just important to be informed about the existence of the wage gap and the things that contribute to it, so things like Equal Pay Day, to just list that out, so that it becomes commonly accepted,” she said.

It is also important to inform girls from a young age about what jobs are lucrative, introduce them to male-dominated fields and educate them about what jobs are growing within the state they live in, Anderson said.

Avery Herndon, freshman in Engineering, said for her civil engineering major, she has the autonomy to work in- or out-of-state.

“I want to work with structures and buildings, and that’s applicable anywhere,” Herndon said.

A factor that made Herndon choose to come to the University was how the faculty actively helps students find internships and jobs, while also helping students find employment in places where they would like to live and do things they would like to do for a career, she said.

Herndon said she had to take ENG 100, Engineering Orientation, her first semester here, where they were taught skills for interviews and elevator pitches. She said the class was very helpful.

“They make you go to the career fair right when you get to college, pretty much, so I think stuff like that and submerging you in that environment really helps,” she said.

Herndon said those efforts have helped her become comfortable and feel more prepared for entering the workforce.

“There’s tons of resources, like people you can see. You can go to the career services and they will do an interview with you. There are always people that you can see and talk to,” she said.

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