America’s best and worst paid jobs for women revealed

The best and worst paid jobs for women in America.

By Daniel Coughlin, Lovemoney

The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F Kennedy way back in 1963, but over 50 years later equal pay for men and women is still not standard across the board. Today women only earn 81.1 cents of every dollar that men in the same roles take home, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wholesale and retail buyers: 0.2% more

Unlike many industries, wholesale and retail buying isn't dominated by men or women, which may go some way toward explaining why salaries for both sexes are virtually on a par. That said, women earn slightly more than men in these roles, typically taking home $880 a week against $878 for men. That's 0.2% more pay for women.

Postal service clerks: 1.7% more

Pay tends to be more equal in sectors that are unionized as collective bargaining results in fairer wages for women. Most mail workers belong to a union, and the American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers has hundreds of thousands of members. As a result, female postal service clerks out-earned their male colleagues by $13 a week in 2018.

Receptionists and information clerks: 2.2% more

Receptionists are eight times more likely to be women than men, and females dominate the role of information clerk too. Though not all female-dominated jobs pay more for women, many do and female reception staff and information clerks typically earn 2.2% more than men in these jobs.

Stock clerks and order fillers: 2.2% more

The roles of stock clerks and order fillers tend to be low-paid. But pay is more equal for men and women in minimum-wage jobs, which are covered by federal or state legislation. The bottom line is that employers can't get away with paying women significantly less than men in these positions. In 2018, women received 2.2% more money than male stock clerks and order fillers.

Editors: 3.1% more

Women out-earn men in relatively few high-paid jobs, but the role of editor is one of the exceptions. Be that as it may, the gender pay gap is wide at a number of leading US publications. The Status of Women in U.S. Media 2019 study by the Women's Media Center found that female journalists are paid significantly less than male reporters in the newsrooms of the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others.

Paralegals and legal assistants: 3.9% more

Paralegal and legal assisting work is traditionally women's work – over 80% of roles are filled by female law experts. Given the number of men working in the field is so low, it's not very surprising that women out-earned their male colleagues by 3.9% in 2018, typically taking home $36 more a week.

Office clerk, general: 4.6% more

Like paralegal and legal assisting, office clerical work is mainly the domain of women. Four-fifths of positions in this field are occupied by females. The lack of men in the job means that women paralegals are paid more: $701 is the typical weekly gross wage for women compared to $670 for men.

Billing and posting clerks: 9.2% more

Another field that is dominated by women workers, billing and postal clerical work is fairly low-paid overall, though most roles pay more than federal or state minimum wage. Females working in this field earn a good 9.2% more than their male colleagues, which translates to an extra $61 per week.

Advertising sales agents: 10.8% more

Advertising sales roles are commission-based and studies show women are actually better at closing deals than men. A recent survey by found that female salespersons have an 11% higher win-rate than their male counterparts. So it's no wonder that women out-earn men by 10.8% in this job.

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians: 11.2% more

Women are under-represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but the vast majority of lab technologists and technicians are actually female – as many as 73.5% of individuals in this role are women according to the Census Bureau. So it makes sense that they typically earn 11.2% more than men working in these roles. That's as much as $92 more per week.

Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks: 12.5% more

Many reservation and transportation ticket agent and clerk jobs are call center-based these days, and studies show recruiters favor women over men for these roles. Female agents and clerks in the field also out-earn males. They typically take home $766 a week against weekly wages of $681 for men.

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: 15.9% more

Food prep and server jobs are minimum-wage gigs, so the rate of pay is enshrined in legislation, leveling out salaries for men and women. Servers' pay is also bumped up by tips, and a study by Cornell University found that female servers make significantly more money from gratuities than males in the same job.

And the jobs where women earn much less than men...Industrial engineers: 25% less

Now for the jobs that offer the most unequal pay for women... The pay gap is pronounced in industrial engineering. Women earn $408 less a week than men in this role typically and make up a minority of the workforce. That's a 25% cut on male industrial engineers. Depressingly, it could take a hundred years for the US to completely close the gender pay gap, according to the American Association of University Women.

Financial analysts: 25.1% less

It's not too surprising that a finance sector job pays men considerably more. Financial analysis has a gender pay gap of 25.1%. A 2018 report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that women need to acquire one additional degree to reach the same salary as their male counterparts.

First-line supervisors of retail sales workers: 26.2% less

Though the gender pay gap for retail supervisors is narrower than that for retail sales workers, it's still wide. The typical female supervisor earns $672 a week while males in supervisory positions gross $911.

Marketing and sales managers: 26.5% less

Marketing and sales managers look after teams of salesperson and rarely – if ever – sell. This might partly explain the role's gender pay gap, as women working in direct sales positions tend to do better than men, scoring more commission, and therefore better take-home pay. For sales managers it's a different story, with women on a salary that is 26.5% lower than that of male managers.

Electrical, electronics, and electromechanical assemblers: 26.6% less

Skilled factory workers who are female receive less money than men – for every dollar a male worker owns, his female colleague only gets 73.4 cents. Another factor worth mentioning is the so-called “motherhood penalty”. For every child a woman has, she loses 4% of lifetime earnings, a factor that doesn't apply to fathers. In fact, dads get a “fatherhood bonus”, which translates to a 10% boost in earnings for each child.

Personal financial advisors: 26.7% less

Back to finance, that bastion of male privilege, women personal financial advisors typically take home $1,207 per week in America while men working the same job are paid a rather more handsome $1,413. Again, this comes down to workplace discrimination and the industry's hard-to-penetrate glass ceiling, but hours worked also play a part.

Insurance underwriters: 27% less

The pay gap in insurance continues to be wide, despite women making up around half the workforce. Last year women underwriters in the US were paid $381 a week less than their male counterparts, that's a whopping 27%.

Police and sheriff's patrol officers: 27.9% less

Pay for cops is based on a step system, so every officer of equal rank who has put in the same number of years on the job is awarded an identical salary. Police and sheriff's patrol officers also frequently belong to unions. The gender pay gap in this job basically comes down to hours worked, with male officers more likely to work overtime than females.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 28.3% less

Taxi driving and chauffeuring is yet another field of work dominated by men, and many women are put off doing the job by safety concerns. Those who do take on the role are paid less than men, typically 28.3% less.

Retail salespersons: 28.9% less

Unusually for a job that has a tendency to be minimum wage or pay not much above the government-mandated base rate, retail sales has a surprisingly wide gender pay gap. Even more interestingly, the gender of the clothes on sale also makes a difference: recent research has shown that workers at men's apparel stores earn more than double what those employed at stores that sell womenswear receive.

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers: 29% less

Another massively male-dominated field, first-line supervision of production and operating workers are usually men. That could have something to do with the fact that men gross weekly wages of $1,050 typically, while women in the industry have to make do with just $745. That's a huge 29% less.

Financial managers: 29.3% less

Back to the testosterone-heavy finance sector. Like many positions in the industry, finance management roles offer higher pay for men, though there are more women than ever doing the job. Females earn a shocking 29.3% less than males, though some experts put this down to women working fewer hours.

Real estate brokers and sales agents: 30.1% less

Though there are more female than male real estate brokers and sales agents in America, shockingly women still earn less than men in the field. This could be because men dominate the senior positions: “Many of our real estate association and brokerages are still run by men,” says top Houston realtor Jo Ann Stevens.

Chief executives: 30.2% less

Worryingly, the number of female CEOs in the US is actually dropping and currently only 5% of Fortune 500 chief execs are women. They are also paid less. Experts have suggested various reasons for the discrepancy, from entrenched old boys' club attitudes to the fact a male in employment is four times more likely to ask for a raise than a woman.

Driver/sales workers and truck drivers: 32.6% less

Driver/sales workers and truck drivers are overwhelmingly male – over 90% of workers in this field are men, and female workers have to deal with everything from pervading sexist attitudes to safety concerns and unequal pay. Women in the job are typically paid $270 less a week than men. That's a shocking 32.6% less than men.

Physicians and surgeons: 33.3% less

Female physicians and surgeons earn just 66.7 cents for every dollar their male counterpart take home. The reason for this is often said to be that women are steered towards – or choose – lower-paying areas such as family medicine, while male medics are often directed to higher paid areas like cardiology or cosmetic surgery.

Credit counselors and loan officers: 34.3% less

The male to female ratio is less pronounced in the field of credit counseling and lending, but women fare poorly in terms of pay, typically earning a painful 34.3% less than men in the industry. The glass ceiling is harder to break through in finance roles and women are often overlooked in favor of men for promotions and raises.

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents: 36.1% less

Most securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are men and they earn considerably more than women in the field. Of all the jobs surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the job area with the most gaping pay gap and where the old boys' club continues to hold sway. Women generally take home 36.1% less than their make coworkers.


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Career Magazine: America’s best and worst paid jobs for women revealed
America’s best and worst paid jobs for women revealed
The best and worst paid jobs for women in America.
Career Magazine
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