The phenomenon of the gender pay gap is a devastatingly embarrassing blight on the professional structure worldwide. In the US, while the gender pay gap is steadily shrinking, at the current rate, it will take over 50 years to establish equity. For all of us reading this, that is certainly too long to wait. Studies indicate that currently, in the US, women make an average of .79 cents for every dollar that a man makes in a comparable position. There can be nothing to blame but gender bias for this staggering 21% average gap.
if you are looking for a position where this will be less of an issue or seeking a way to make a difference in a male-dominated profession, it is useful to know what industries represent the most and least gender pay gap structures.
Industries with the largest gap
It’s no surprise that male-dominated industries make up the majority of those that represent the highest gender gap disparity in wages.
- Aviation: The male-dominated industry of piloting planes has been demonstrated to be the largest culprit with male pilots making over 26% more than female counterparts. Part of this is likely the fact that only 7% of the workforce is made up of women.
- Professional Chefs: Women chefs in the US make around $9,000 less than men who hold the same jobs which can take a bite in a profession that has an average pay of around $45k per year. In addition, the chance for advancement for women chefs is much lower. The percentage of female executive chefs is very small, with a recent article pointing out that none are represented in the establishments of many high-profile restaurateurs including bit names like David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
- C-Suite Executives: In another male-dominated field, the upper echelons of corporations, women and men are being paid terribly unequally. Even though women have been replacing men more often in recent years (up to 22% in 2018 from 18% in 2017) they are not receiving adequate compensation that is commensurate with a man in the same role. Women executives earn 24% less than men even when they should be cracking the glass ceiling toward executive compensation.
Jobs where there is more gender pay equity
While there are a number of positions where women are paid equally to (or with even greater salaries than) men, these tend to be low level or financially less prosperous positions.
- Merchandiser: A female-dominated business, the work of a merchandiser is to keep shelves stocked and to design displays in retail stores. While this job does pay better for women than men, the income is rather low (less than $30k on average) and those these merchandisers report to are generally men. For example, fewer than 30% of those in senior leadership in retail food businesses are women.
- Research Assistants: Again this represents a lower-paying position that is subordinate to the male-dominated profession of academia. However, women in this role do make about 6% more than men.
- Social work: Only about 18% of the social work profession are male, and women’s salaries are about 3% higher than men. For whatever reason, women tend to be better represented and are now being more equitably funded in social sciences.
How to combat gender pay inequality
There are two main distinct tacks you can take that have proven effective in the fight against pay inequality.
Mentorship opportunities: Women that have been trailblazers in male-dominated professions are often available as mentors, even looking to help other female candidates to help raise up. Seeking a mentor is a great way to follow in the footsteps of those that came before and to learn how to get the most value out of a job.
Learning negotiation tactics: While it is understood that women are generally less aggressive in negotiation, there are ways for even introverted women to reframe their negotiation strategies to their advantage. An example of how women can reframe their negotiation thinking is that women tend to fight more effectively on behalf of someone other than themselves. By thinking of contract negotiations as a way to (for example) help women fight inequality, it is more likely that negotiations will be framed more fairly.
50 years is much too long to wait for gender equality in pay. By understanding which positions have far to go and which provide better avenues, you can frame how to create an opportunity for yourself while combating the wage gap.