Gender pay disparity often begins in favor of women but soon favors men. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York say women fresh from college earn as much or more than male counterparts in 29 fields. But by mid-career that advantage is gone.

Women college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 earned 16% more than men in social services and 10% more in industrial engineering jobs, BloombergBusiness reports. But the wage gap is 15% in favor of men by the time women reach 35 to 45.

A possible explanation for the falloff offered by Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, is that careers are begun through human resources departments, which likely follow anti-discrimination policies. HR isn’t managed as closely by HR, says Ross, allowing bias to “creep back in.”

Does your career experience support this study’s findings? Why do you think women fall behind by mid-career? Share your opinions on

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