Academics with advanced degrees earn less money than their industry worker counterparts with the same degrees, a new study finds.

Research published in January from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that those who choose an academic career path make 15 percent less than those who hold a doctorate degree outside of academia in the same demographics.

This gap exists despite those in academia having longer work weeks and having time more evenly distributed across the week, according to the study.

Professors with doctoral level degrees still earn 44 percent more than their counterparts in industry fields without the degree, according to the study.

Daniel Hamermesh, distinguished scholar at Barnard College in New York who has been studying academic salaries for more than 30 years, wrote the study. He said the new data allowed him to see how professionals spend their time and compare the time spent for people with doctorate level degrees in and out of academia.

The added time flexibility makes up a third of the pay shortfall, Hamermesh said. People who work in academia tend to have more flexible schedules than people in industries.

“They work more on weekends and less on week days and that’s desirable,” Hamermesh said. “People are willing to give up some pay in order to get some flexibility, which makes a lot of sense to me.”

Hamermesh said professors give up pay for this flexibility as well as other non-monetary benefits such as teaching and research.

Those in the industry often don’t want to teach, clinical economics professor William Seeger said.

“I came from industry,” Seeger said. “These are completely different environments.”

Those who choose to go into industry are looking for additional money and a faster paced environment.

Seeger said this wage gap won’t deter people who are interested in teaching from pursuing it.

“The differential reflects the value add, but it doesn’t take people that want to be academics and give it all up and they go into, become a corporate exec,” Seeger said.

People who want to teach will teach, and people not interested in teaching will continue what they are doing, Seeger said.



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