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gender pay gap

The current gender wage gap in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sits at slightly less than 82%. That means the average working woman earns 82% of what the average working man earns, which hurts not only women’s ability to earn but also their ability to save. That number is up 20 percentage points since 1979, though still far from ideal. According to data from the BLS, there was almost no progress in gender pay parity from 2005 to 2017.And when you look at occupation-specific data, the numbers can be even worse. Below, we dig into the occupation data to rank the occupations with the largest and smallest gender pay gap.

In order to rank the occupations with the largest and smallest gender pay gap, we looked at data for two metrics. We compared the median weekly earnings for men and women in each occupation. This allowed us to calculate women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings, the figure we used to rank the occupations. The Data and Methodology section below shows our sources and how we put the data together to create our final rankings.

Key Findings

  • Women aren’t often the boss, but when they are, they aren’t paid well – Chief executive ranked as the occupation with the fifth-largest gender pay gap. The average female chief executive earns less than 70% of what the average male chief executive does. The average female CEO makes $90,300 per year compared to the $129,400 that a male CEO makes. Of the nearly 1.1 million chief executives in America, only 307,000 are female.
  • Pay gap is larger in higher-income occupations – The 10 occupations with the largest pay gap have average weekly earnings of $985 for women and $1,440 for men. For the 10 occupations with the smallest pay gap, average weekly earnings are $815 for women and $805 for men.
  • Women make less in sales – The category of “Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents” ranks first while “Real estate brokers and sales agents” and “Retail salespersons” also make it into the top 10. If we include more general sales occupations like “All other sales and related workers” and “All other service sales representatives,” sales jobs dominate the top of the pay gap charts.

pay gap

Occupations With the Largest Pay Gap

1. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,047
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,639
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 63.88%

2. Credit counselors and loan officers

Women’s median weekly earnings: $948
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,443
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 65.70%

3. Physicians and surgeons

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,677
Men’s median weekly earnings: $2,513
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 66.73%

4. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

Women’s median weekly earnings: $559
Men’s median weekly earnings: $829
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 67.43%

5. Chief executives

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,736
Men’s median weekly earnings: $2,488
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 69.77%

6. Real estate brokers and sales agents

Women’s median weekly earnings: $883
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,264
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 69.86%

7. Financial managers

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,262
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,784
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 70.74%

8. First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

Women’s median weekly earnings: $745
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,050
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 70.95%

9. Retail salespersons

Women’s median weekly earnings: $543
Men’s median weekly earnings: $764
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 71.07%

10. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Women’s median weekly earnings: $450
Men’s median weekly earnings: $628
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 71.66%

pay gap

Occupations With the Smallest Pay Gap

1. Wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products

Women’s median weekly earnings: $880
Men’s median weekly earnings: $878
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 100.23%

2. Cashiers

Women’s median weekly earnings: $463
Men’s median weekly earnings: $468
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 98.93%

3. Customer service representatives

Women’s median weekly earnings: $680
Men’s median weekly earnings: $689
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 98.69%

4. Physical therapists

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,387
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,410
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 98.37%

5. Postal service clerks

Women’s median weekly earnings: $771
Men’s median weekly earnings: $758
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 101.72%

6. Stock clerks and order fillers

Women’s median weekly earnings: $570
Men’s median weekly earnings: $558
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 102.15%

7. Receptionists and information clerks

Women’s median weekly earnings: $606
Men’s median weekly earnings: $593
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 102.19%

8. Editors

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,138
Men’s median weekly earnings: $1,104
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 103.08%

9. Paralegals and legal assistants

Women’s median weekly earnings: $953
Men’s median weekly earnings: $917
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 103.93%

10. Office clerks, general

Women’s median weekly earnings: $701
Men’s median weekly earnings: $670
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 104.63%

Top 5 Occupations Where Women Outearn Men

1. Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

Women’s median weekly earnings: $475
Men’s median weekly earnings: $410
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 115.85%

2. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks

Women’s median weekly earnings: $766
Men’s median weekly earnings: $681
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 112.48%

3. Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Women’s median weekly earnings: $911
Men’s median weekly earnings: $819
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 111.23%

4. Advertising sales agents

Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,053
Men’s median weekly earnings: $950
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 110.84%

5. Billing and posting clerks

Women’s median weekly earnings: $725
Men’s median weekly earnings: $664
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings: 109.19%

In total, there are 12 occupations in our study in which women outearn men.

 

Data and Methodology

In order to find the occupations with the largest and smallest pay gaps, we looked at data for 126 occupations. Specifically, we looked at the following two factors:

  • Median weekly earnings for women. This is the median weekly earnings for women who work full time.
  • Median weekly earnings for men. This is the median weekly earnings for men who work full time.

Data for both metrics comes from the BLS and is from 2018.

To rank the occupations, we divided the median weekly earnings for women by the median weekly earnings for men. The result was the median weekly earnings for women as a percentage of median weekly earnings for men. We ranked the occupations from smallest to largest (in other words, the occupations in which women earned the least compared to men).

To rank the occupations with the smallest pay gap, we looked for the occupations in which there was the smallest difference between men’s and women’s earnings as measured by women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings. This means that in some of the occupations with the smallest pay gap, women earn more than men, on average.

For our final rankings, we did not include occupations with the phrases “all other” and “miscellaneous” in them, due to their lack of specificity.

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Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/EmirMemedovski

Derek Miller, CEPF® Derek Miller is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where he studied economics. He is passionate about using data to help people make better financial decisions. Derek is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He is a data journalist whose expertise is in finding the stories within the numbers. Derek's writing has been featured on Yahoo, AOL, and Huffington Post. He believes the biggest financial mistake people make is waiting too late to save for retirement and missing out on the wonders of compounding interest. Derek lives in Brooklyn.
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