The Gender Gap Is Much, Much Smaller Than Anyone realised

For decades, women have worked to close the gender gap. The Bureau of labour Statistics reports that currently women earn around 81 cents to the dollar

But the BLS data isn’t the most accurate metric to compare wages, according to new data from Payscale, released today. There’s hardly a gender gap at all, actually; it’s just that women choose jobs that pay less.

The BLS looks more broadly at the wage data, and since men still dominate higher-paying jobs, that accounts for the discrepancy. On the other hand, Payscale looked at 40 million career profiles and controlled the wage data for education, type of work, and more — and found a much smaller gap. According to the report:

At the individual contributor level, the controlled gender wage gap is only 2% (i.e., women earn 98% of men holding the same position), but at the executive level, the controlled gender wage gap is nearly 9%.

PayScale chief economist Katie Bardaro told the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson that the government “compares all weekly earnings, even though women and men do different things. We’re trying to compare men and women with the same education, same management responsibilities, similar employers, in companies with a similar number of employees, [in which case] the gender wage gap disappears for most positions.”

The biggest discrepancy is at the top, among executives:

Payscale Data

It’s great news that the wage gap may not be quite as large as we think. But the big discrepancy at the top is still a problem, and something people like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is working to fix. We’re headed in the right direction, but achieving equal pay at the top may just be a matter of how quickly women fill up executive offices.

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