Gender Wage Gap Persists--Except for Butlers

by Cathy Vandewater | March 16, 2012

Here's some depressing news: Bloomberg recently compiled 2010 census data to discover that the only women who out-earned men last year (per dollar) were shining shoes, house sitting, and parking cars. Oh, and ceremoniously handing rich people letters on entrée platters: female butlers made $1.02 for every $1 men earned. But as for everybody else, here's a quick breakdown:

Lawyers

Female lawyers earned pretty well over all, making a median salary of almost $98k in 2010—but compare that to $126K for men that year and that disparity is clear: a difference of 22 cents on every dollar.

Finance Workers

In the six "major" jobs in finance (insurance agents, managers, clerks, securities sales agents, and personal advisers), women made, on average, 55 to 62 cents for each dollar men did.  

Only female bank tellers (who made peanuts in 2010 with a median salary of $24k) came close to closing the gender gap, earning 96 cents per male-earned buck.  

Worth noting: Bloomberg's sociological expert says that many women in finance don't even know they're underpaid, since the bonuses that make up a lot of Wall Street salaries are top secret. At least lawyers have Above the Law...

Bosses

Sadly, even women who make it to the top of the executive heap won't out-earn their peers: female CEOs made 74 cents for every dollar male ones did in 2010. And they're still shockingly rare: less than 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, according to Bloomberg and Catalyst.

Secretaries, Nurses, Flight Attendants and Cosmetologists

Even stereotypically "female" jobs, like secretaries and nurses, are less lucrative for women than men. Despite the fact that 96% of secretaries and admins in the United States are female, they still only earned 87 cents per dollar men made in those roles in 2010. Perhaps it's a rarity thing? Of the 2,600,000 Americans working as assistants and receptionists, only 104,000 are men.

Faring a little better are female nurses, who made 92 centsfor every $1 men made in 2010, as did women flight attendants, who made 89 cents. The person who cuts your hair, though? If it's a woman, she made a mere 68 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterparts.

So that's the breakdown. Admittedly, things are getting better—Bloomberg notes that all the society changes (more women working full time, having better educations, staying single longer, and delaying kids) of the past 50 years have brought the overall wage ratio to 77 cents per dollar. Some say that's fair, as women, on a whole, are still shouldering more home responsibilities than men, and placing more importance on family than career aspirations.

But all said and done, the rate of change we're at now—roughly a half a cent per year, for the per-dollar-rate disparity—will have women earning equal pay to men in the year 2058.

Surely we can do better than that?

--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com

Read More:
Shining Shoes Best Way Wall Street Women Outearn Men (Bloomberg)
Do We Prefer Male Bosses?
Tips for Women Getting Ahead in Business
The Male and Female Guide to Salary Negotiation

Filed Under: Job Search | Salary & Benefits | Workplace Issues


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