By Jillian Berman

The findings add to the growing body of evidence that women are at a disadvantage salary-wise right out of the gate, even before  many of the oft-cited culprits of the gender wage gap — for example, taking time off to have and raise children — come into view. What’s more, the analysis highlights the ways in which women at the highest levels of corporate America still face challenges earning equal pay.

“Those are the elite schools and the people going for elite jobs in the highest-paying sectors,” said Ariane Hegewisch, the program director for employment and earnings at the Institute for Womens Policy Research, a Washington, D.C. think tank focused on women’s economic issues. Many of these students are going into fields like IT or banking and finance, which have some of the largest pay gaps, Hegewisch said.

But there are other factors at play, which may explain why a pay gap still exists for students at other types of universities as well — six years after entering any type of college men earn about $4,000 more on average than women at the 10-year mark, according to CAP research. Young women may not be negotiating as much (though new research indicates women do negotiate often), putting them at a disadvantage when starting out, Hegewisch said.

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