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These 10 college majors lead to the biggest gender pay gaps

New research suggests the gender pay divide — in which women in the U.S. working full-time and salaried jobs earn approximately 20 percent less than men in the same positions — may begin before Americans even hit the workforce.

» RELATED: Atlanta has highest man-woman pay gap in tech

In fact, according to an economics research team at Glassdoor, it could all start with a college student’s choice of major.

Using 46,900 anonymous, user-submitted salary and education data reports, analysts looked at how much both male and female professionals with the same college degree made.

They found that among the 50 most common college majors, there is an average 11.5 percent pay gap between men and women in the first five years of their careers.

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Women studying healthcare administration, the team concluded, go on to see the biggest gender wage gap, earning 22 percent less than their male counterparts.

» RELATED: Atlanta businesses celebrating #EqualPayDay

For many reasons, the research shows women and men tend to gravitate toward traditional "female" and "male" jobs despite studying the same — a phenomenon called “occupational sorting.”

One such example, according to Glassdoor, is that a man with a biology degree is more likely to apply for higher-paying jobs such as a data analyst whereas a woman with the same degree is more likely to gravitate toward a lower-paying job as a sales associate or lab technician.

“These pay differences in turn reveal themselves as a major contributor to the well-documented gap between male and female pay in the labor market,” Glassdoor analysts said.

Choosing a major, according to the team, is more than just an expression of personal preference — the gender imbalances among college majors directly impact America’s dogged gender pay gap.

» RELATED: The U.S. doesn’t even crack the top 15 best countries for women

Here are the 10 college majors leading to the biggest gender pay gaps:

1. Healthcare Administration (22 percent)

Median base pay for women: $40,000

Median base pay for men: $51,250

2. Mathematics (18 percent)

Median base pay for women: $49,182

Median base pay for men: $60,000

3. Biology (13 percent)

Median base pay for women: $40,000

Median base pay for men: $46,000

4. Human Resources (11.6 percent)

Median base pay for women: $44,222

Median base pay for men: $50,000

5. Health Sciences (11.1 percent)

Median Base Pay for Women: $40,000

Median base pay for men: $45,000

6. Biomedical Engineering (10.9 percent)

Median base pay for women: $53,450

Median base pay for men: $60,000

7. Industrial Engineering (10.8 percent)

Median base pay for women: $58,000

Median base pay for men: $65,000

8. Business (10 percent)

Median base pay for women: $45,000

Median base pay for men: $50,000

9. Marketing (10 percent)

Median base pay for women: $45,000

Median base pay for men: $50,000

10. Exercise Science (9.6 percent)

Median base pay for women: $40,000

Median base pay for men: $44,232

Read more about the Glassdoor study and its methodology.

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