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Friday, August 24, 2007

Wage Gap Persists, Women’s Share of Job Market Grows

posted by on August 24 at 12:00 PM

A new salary survey reveals that even as more women are taking on occupations traditionally dominated by men (and, to a certain extent, vice versa), the wage gap between men and women persists across every job classification, including professions dominated by women. For example, among software developers (a field that’s 13 percent female), full-time female workers make an average of $70,500 to men’s $72,600. Among registered nurses (86 percent female), women average $56,900; men, $64,200. Among attorneys (36 percent female, and growing), women make an average $89,800, while men average $99,100. Meanwhile, women continue to make gains in the job market, with the US Labor Department estimating that by 2014, 53.2 percent of jobs will be held by men, and 46.8 percent by women.

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NEW female attorneys -- new hires fresh out of law school -- earn more than new males. Males have an advantage in the nine-hundred-year-old semi-retired partner class.

One thing that confuses me about these stats, which presume that all else besides wage is equivalent: it suggests that if I wanted to hold my wage costs down in my software development company, I'd just fire all the dudes and hire women, since I can pay them less. Why don't they?

Posted by Fnarf | August 24, 2007 12:39 PM

The wage discrepancy between male nurses and female nurses gave me the most pause, I think, because that's not something you can wave away by rationalizing that most senior, older nurses are male or anything like that.

Posted by arduous | August 24, 2007 12:52 PM

@1 - one common explanation is that women are less likely to negotiate higher salaries. (But then there's also studies like this which suggest that might be rational on womens' part.) You could fire an male employee who demands more and replace him with a somewhat lower-paid newbie, of course, but you often wouldn't want to go to the trouble.

Posted by tsm | August 24, 2007 12:58 PM


Yeah, and don't nurses get paid by the hour?

Posted by keshmeshi | August 24, 2007 1:08 PM

I work in the software industry and I can tell you that women with the same experience as men make the same wage as men, if not more. I've worked for several MAJOR companies in the area and talked to thousands of people about this and there just flat isn't a wage discrepancy in this industry.

The only time women make less than men in software is when they have less experience or less skills, just like anyone else.

Posted by Smegmalicious | August 24, 2007 1:10 PM

I'd speculate that women are statistically far more likely to take off from their careers to care for children and/or elders, have less seniority, and therefore make less over their lifetimes.

Posted by MHD | August 24, 2007 1:42 PM

Dude, women make less money than men because they're not as good at math, they're too emotional for a tough work environment and they have family obligations that keep them from being able to make the same commitment to a job that men can make.


And I love how ECB can read a story that says,

What's more, the pay gap between men and women is decreasing -- women were earning 81 percent as much as their male counterparts in 2005 compared to when women earned about 63 percent as much as men did in 1979, according to a report conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the BLS.

And come back with a headline that says,

Wage Gap Persists,

Meanwhile, I can't help noticing that none of these studies ever break things down by income distribution within a field or by age or seniority or any of that business. It doesn't take very many Bill Gateses to skew the numbers in mens' favor.

Somehow I imagine ECB will be much more particular about such parameters when the numbers finally flip over completely.

Posted by Judah | August 24, 2007 3:52 PM

ECB could help by taking one of those above working class bus driver jobs at 34 to 50 k and when women have a chance to make big bucks in the espresso biz what does she do?

Posted by whatever | August 24, 2007 4:05 PM


There have been studies that parse the numbers by occupation, age and seniority. They show that the wage gap persists even when women do the same jobs, at the same age, with the same seniority, they still make less money.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 24, 2007 5:15 PM

Then there's this, suggesting that Gen Y women out-earn Gen Y men:

A study by Queens College demographer Andy Beveridge shows that all women from ages 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full-time made 117 percent of men's wages, or a median wage of $35,653, and even more in Dallas, where the women made 120 percent of what the men made. Some of the other cities where young women earn more than men are Minneapolis, Chicago, and Boston.

Posted by Ariel | August 24, 2007 7:03 PM

Seven percent of women negotiate their first "real job" salarry. 57% of men do. Thus, women lose over $550,000 in pay over the course of their lifetimes.

Ladies: Negotiate your salary during the job offer period! Don't know how? There are books and classes that would be happy to help.

(As for that guy who says there isn't any wage discrimination in his industry. Beyond personal experience, how do you know?)

Posted by negotiate | August 26, 2007 7:40 PM

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