A recently published study by the National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Studies reports that as the 1980s wore on, unemployment among new science graduates with bachelor's and master's degrees declined. However, according to the report, the starting salaries of these fledgling scientists were lower than those of newly minted engineers.

What's more, women were receiving lower starting salaries than their male colleagues. Similarly, newly graduated black scientists were paid less than their white or Asian counterparts, according to the NSF study, titled "Characteristics of Recent Science and Engineering Graduates: 1988."

NSF, which conducts salary and employment surveys of new graduates every two years, received responses from 16,690 students graduating with bachelor's and master's degrees in 1986 and 1987. Of the total, 51.5 percent were science grads. The responses reflect the career paths of new scientists in 1988. Currently, data from 1988 and 1989 grads are being gathered.


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