There may be a correlation between distance traveled for first jobs — which is persistent — and the gender pay wage disparity, which continues to narrow.
We examined data from more than 115,000 resumes and found that on average women move 318 miles from their college for their first jobs, while men move 370 miles.
This amounts to an almost 16 percent difference in moves for first jobs between the genders, which amounts to a search radius that’s 52 miles broader. If that doesn’t seem like a lot at first, for a jobseeker in Philadelphia that amounts to 3,873,908 more jobs.
Because this was such a drastic difference, we considered our data set and broke it down into the different majors to see if certain job types were skewing the results. We excluded majors that didn’t have at least ten statistical observations and plotted the data again.
This didn’t have a significant effect: men travel more for their first jobs across most majors, even for traditionally female-dominated majors like nursing and teaching
One thing we noticed when plotting the data was that while men traveled more for the stereotypically feminine majors, women also seemed to travel more for certain science, technical, engineering and math degrees — like biomedical science and applied mathematics.
We thought there might be something to that, but when we broke it into STEM-only majors and plotted the data, men still move on average more for STEM first jobs than women — but not as much further for STEM vs. non-STEM.
This leads us to draw a correlation between the distance men are willing to travel for their jobs and their higher incomes, which persist despite narrowing trends. However, this does not explain away the issue of gender pay discrimination.
There’s a strong argument to be made that women do not travel as far for first jobs because they accept the first strong offer they get — the job market is riskier for them and turning down an offer might mean not getting a career in their field.
The fact that women in male-dominated fields move further reinforces this, as they are more cognizant of the fact that they will face an uphill battle in their industries. Men may travel farther for their first jobs (and potentially make more because of this), but it may be because of their perceived security in job selection selectiveness.