CHART: The Wage Gap Is Biggest In The Highest Paying Industries

This editorial is part of our GREAT DEBATE feature ‘Why Aren’t There More Women In Positions Of Power?

The first act Obama signed into legislation in January 2009 was the Fair Pay Act which seeks to redress discriminatory pay that women receive.

In 1979, women earned just 62 per cent of what men took home for the same occupation. By 2010, that disparity had closed considerably, with women earning 81.2 per cent of what their male counterparts earned. 

Yet despite that improvement, the wage gap has not closed evenly across industries, with the widest gulfs remaining for particularly high-skilled, high-paying areas like finance and business management. Traditionally, women have gravitated to lower-paying fields like nursing and clerical work. 

Women’s earnings still lag behind men in part because they fail to negotiate their salaries. But it’s difficult to debate the fact that pay discrimination still lingers. 

chart, womens wages as a per cent of mens across industries

Photo: Jon Terbush / Business Insider


There has been an even smaller increase in female managers than other occupation levels in the last decade, in spite of the fact that some executives say women make better managers.

The ratio of women’s earnings to men’s topped that 81.2 per cent mark in just two of the managerial roles tracked by the BLS, discounting occupations with too few members of either sex to derive a statistically sound comparison.


chart, earnings ratio women to men in management roles

Photo: Jon Terbush / Business Insider

SEE MORE OF THE GREAT DEBATE: ‘Why Aren’t There More Women In Positions Of Power?’ >

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.