3 Depressing Findings From A Huge New Study Of The Gender Pay Gap

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On the whole, the average woman with a year-round full-time job can expect to make just 79 percent of what a man doing the same makes in a year. There are many factors that go into the disparity. Some conservatives even argue that these factors — that women getting grouped into different jobs than men or perhaps not pursuing education and advances as aggressively — are really what’s behind it.

But new data released from PayScale on Thursday tells a different story. The numbers come from a survey of about 1.4 million full-time employees over the course of two years. The company doesn’t just report the raw numbers, but also controls for various factors such as marital and family status, job, industry, seniority, geography, education, and generation.

What it found is that even with all of these variables taken into consideration, women in the survey made 2.7 percent less than men. And they make less even in a number of areas where one might think the gap would be nonexistent.

Women make less than men in every industry and job

Overall, women tend to be clustered in lower paying jobs than men. Male-dominated jobs pay a lot more per week than female ones. But women still can’t escape the pay gap by taking a job in a new area. Even when controlled for different factors, there is no industry where women earn equal or more than compared to men. Women make between 1.3 percent less than men in the real estate industry and 5.4 percent less in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas.


The same holds true when looking at groupings of occupations. In fact, women make less than men in nearly every one of the hundreds of jobs tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Women make less than men even with more education

Young women are currently outpacing men in getting college degrees, which in theory could be a good sign for their pay given that college-educated people on the whole make more. But they still can’t escape the wage gap by becoming more educated. There is a gender wage gap at every education level, even when controlled for different factors. Worse, it’s even wider at the highest levels: the 2.2 percent gap in earnings between similar men and women with Associate’s degrees widens to 4.7 percent for those with an MBA and 5.1 percent for those with a PhD.


CREDIT: Andrew Breiner

Women make even less the further they get ahead at work

Some also posit that women make less because they lack enough ambition to get ahead. But women can’t outrun the wage gap by climbing to the top. The controlled gap exists at every job level and even widens as they get further ahead. Entry-level women make 2.2 percent less, while executives make 6.1 percent less.


There are some other factors that go into the gap. The controlled pay gap is highest between married men with children and married women with children. That may in part be because discrimination against mothers tends to lower their pay, while fathers get a boost. But it also likely reflects that women are much more likely to interrupt or adjust their careers in order to care for family than men.

It’s also important to remember that while white women make 22 percent less than men, the wage gap is much wider for women of color.