Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 125 occupations.[i] The occupation with the largest gender wage gap is ‘financial managers’; women’s 2019 median weekly earnings for full-time work in this occupation were just 63.6 percent of those of men’s, a gender wage gap of 36.4 percent.[ii] The median weekly gender earnings ratio for all full-time weekly workers was 81.5 percent, a weekly gender wage gap of 18.5 percent (Table 1).[iii]
There are just five occupations in which women’s median weekly earnings are higher than men’s, and 120 occupations in which they are lower. The occupation with the highest gender gap in favor of women is ‘counselors’, with a median weekly gender earnings ratio of 106.3 percent, a 6.3 percent gender wage gap in favor of women. Median weekly earnings for all women full-time workers is $1,003.[iv] In general, the highest paid occupations have the biggest gender wage gaps and the lowest paid occupations have the smallest gaps. All but two of the 10 occupations with the largest gender wage gaps have earnings that are higher than median earnings for all full-time workers ($917).
[i] This fact sheet shows median weekly earnings for full-time (35 hours or more per week) wage and salaried workers ages 16 and older (excluding the self-employed) based on Current Population Survey (CPS) annual averages for the calendar year 2019. Earnings data are made available only where there are an estimated minimum of 50,000 workers in an occupation; many occupations have fewer than 50,000 women and/or men working within them and earnings data are not published; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2020. “Household Data Annual Averages Table 39. Median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by detailed occupation and sex.” <http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf> (accessed February 5, 2020).
[ii] The occupation of ‘financial managers’ is 54.2 percent female, with median weekly earnings for full-time work of $1,207 for women and $1,897 for men; three other occupations—‘personal financial advisors’, ‘real estate brokers and sales agents’, and ‘credit counselors and loan officers’—have a gender earnings ratio of 67 percent or less (66.2, 65.7, and 64.7 percent, respectively); IWPR calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), as above.
[iii] Another measure of the gender earnings ratio based on median annual earnings for full-time, year-round work, which includes the self-employed and annual bonus and commission payments, was 81.5 percent (a gender wage gap of 18.5 percent) in 2018; 2019 data will not be published until September 2020. See Ariane Hegewisch and Adiam Tesfaselassie. 2019. “The Gender Wage Gap 2018: Earnings Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity.” Fact Sheet, IWPR #C484. Washington, DC: Institute for Women’s Policy Research. <http://iwpr.org/publications/annual-gender-wage-gap-2018/>.
[iv] The other occupations where women’s median weekly earnings are marginally higher than men’s and the median weekly gender earnings ratio for full-time work is higher than 100 percent are ‘first-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers’ (with a gender earnings ratio of 101.4% and median weekly earnings for women of $1,173), ‘stock clerks and order fillers’ (101.5% and $605, respectively), ‘industrial production managers’ (101.9% and $1,497, respectively; this occupation is comparatively small for women), and ‘combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food’ (102.2% and $467, respectively. Data to allow checking whether these differences are statistically significant are not published.