Jobs with the Widest Pay Gaps between Men and Women

24/7 Wall St.

The gender wage gap has narrowed over the years. In 1979, women made an estimated 62% of what men earned. In 2012, the wage of a full-time female employee was roughly 81% of her male counterpart. While that is good news, in the past 10 years, the gap has remained more or less unchanged.

The size of the remaining pay inequality depends a great deal on the job. In many of the largest occupations in the country, women earn close to what men do on a weekly basis. In others, however, the disparity remains closer to the 1979 levels. For example, the typical female insurance agent brought in just 62.5% of her male counterpart in 2012.

ALSO READ: The Five Worst Performing Stocks on the Dow

Based on data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 occupations where the median weekly full-time income among women was the smallest as a percent of men’s earnings.

While most acknowledge that workplace discrimination and the glass ceiling are major reasons women made a weekly median of $691 compared to men’s $894, there are several other factors to explain this disparity. For one, employment in the different occupations is not equally distributed by gender, explained Ariane Hegewisch, study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Some higher-paid positions in the same field are much more likely to be held by men than women.

ALSO READ: Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014

For example, many of the occupations with the largest gaps between men and women are in sales. “For the wage gap in sales positions, commissions seem to be a factor,” Hegewisch said. “Women tend to work selling clothes, men tend to work more selling cars and TVs.” These higher price tag products tend to bring in much more in commissions, while items like clothing tend to bring in much lower commissions, if any at all.

In some of the occupations with the widest pay gap, the difference in the number of hours worked by men and women is also a factor in the difference in pay. For example, among physicians and surgeons, women earned barely two thirds of their male counterparts. Hegewisch explained that the majority of surgeons are men, while women physicians are more likely to be engaged in care-based or clinical work. Surgeons are usually required to be available as many as 80 hours a week, and they are usually paid more as a result.

While hours worked and employment distribution can be factors in pay difference, workplace discrimination remains a key factor. One way Hegewisch suggested this might be occurring is in sales occupations. These positions usually rely on leads, and women do not appear to be getting the same quality leads as men in some cases. “In insurance and in financial products, it is an issue of getting leads -- who are the clients you are pointed to… who do you get access to?” Hegewisch added that this difference in leads “has been found to explain quite a bit in the pay gap, and in some cases to be discriminatory.”

To identify the 10 jobs with the largest wage gap, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of earnings data from the Current Population Survey for 2012. The wage data are based on weekly earnings of both men and women working at least 35 hours a week year-round. We only considered occupations that were not themselves broken out into more specific categories by the CPS. We also excluded those occupations that the BLS considered too broad to define.

ALSO READ: Eight Hot Housing Markets That Are Cooling Down

10. Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 69.3%
> Women median weekly earnings: $803
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,158
> Number of workers: 307,000

Claims adjusters and related occupations evaluate and review claims, estimate values of insured assets, and investigate claims to ensure they are not fraudulent. Workers often have irregular schedules, as they must be available to help clients at different times of the day. As of 2012, Women held nearly two thirds of the jobs in these professions. However, men who worked at these jobs had a far higher median weekly pay of $1,158, compared to just over $800 for women.

9. Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 69.2%
> Women median weekly earnings: $570
> Men median weekly earnings: $824
> Number of workers: 621,000

Those employed as quality control inspectors screen non-agricultural raw materials and manufactured -- such as car parts, plastics, textiles, and glass -- for defects to ensure producers’ standards and quality requirements are met. Frequently, this involves the operation of complex testing equipment as well as data analysis software. More than 400,000 men were employed in these positions in 2012, twice the number of women. Last year, the weekly earnings of women working in these occupations was $570, while it was more than $800 for men working in the same jobs.

8. Security, commodities, and financial services sales agents
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 69.1%
> Women median weekly earnings: $862
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,247
> Number of workers: 220,000

Financial services sales agents connect buyers and sellers of assets and financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, and commodities. This field spans a variety of occupations, from sales agents who sell credit cards and banking products to investment bankers who guide companies through the issuance of stocks or bonds. The hours for such jobs can be long, and working conditions can be stressful. As of 2012, women accounted for just under 30% of these jobs and had a median salary equal to just 69% that of men. Numerous groups, including the Financial Women’s Association, work to expand the role of women in these positions.

ALSO READ: America's Richest (and Poorest) Cities

7. Marketing and sales managers
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 67.7%
> Women median weekly earnings: $1,110
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,640
> Number of workers: 916,000

Marketing managers are responsible for generating interest in a product, and sales managers are responsible for finding customers to whom the product can be sold. Depending on the job title and company, wages and responsibilities can vary considerably. Sales managers, for example, are more likely to be directly involved with customers and service. Marketing managers may be required to determine demand for products, monitor trends, or develop pricing strategies. The number of women versus men working in marketing was more balanced than many other occupations. The typical man working in this job, however, earned about $500, or 48%, more a week than the typical woman working the same job.

6. Physicians and surgeons
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 67.6%
> Women median weekly earnings: $1,418
> Men median weekly earnings: $2,099
> Number of workers: 655,000

Wages for these medical professions are among the highest for all occupations. Most male physicians and surgeons working full-time earned more than $2,000 per week last year, or over $600 more than the women in these occupations. Physicians must typically complete medical school, as well as a multiple year long residency, which qualifies physicians to diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses. The number of female doctors has grown considerably over the past decade, but the rate is stalling, according to a 2012 report by The Atlantic. Also, women are more likely than men to drop out of the workforce, suggesting that to achieve equal representation, graduating classes in these fields would have to be more than 50% female.

5. Education administrators
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 67.2%
> Women median weekly earnings: $1,052
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,566
> Number of workers: 704,000

Education administrators work at all levels of education, from preschool to postsecondary. In preschools and childcare centers, administrators help develop programs while coordinating and training teachers. Administrators at the postsecondary level can fill a broad range of roles, from directing admissions offices to serving as deans and provosts -- who often direct tenure decisions and formulate academic policies. Nearly 65% of education administrators were female in 2012. However, pay for women was barely two-thirds that of men in these positions.

4. Personal financial advisors
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 66.3%
> Women median weekly earnings: $1,016
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,532
> Number of workers: 278,000

Financial advisors review and assess their clients’ assets and financial needs, and help them create a plan suited to their preferences and needs. Advisors typically require knowledge that extends beyond that of investment strategies. According to The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, many clients seek financial advice as a result of divorce and other emotionally-charged dilemmas. Last year, more than 180,000 men worked as personal financial advisors, compared with just over 95,000 women. According to the BLS, most personal financial advisors are self-employed.

3. Real estate brokers and sales agents
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 66.0%
> Women median weekly earnings: $680
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,031
> Number of workers: 328,000

Real estate sales agents, help customers buy, sell, or rent property. They work for brokers, who are sales agents licensed to operate their own business. All states require sales agents to be licenced, and additional licensing is required to become a broker. Real estate professionals are frequently self-employed and often work more than 40 hours a week. This is because they must spend a great deal of time meeting with clients and showing properties. As of 2012, women accounted for the majority of such workers, roughly 60%. Yet, the median income for women working full-time as brokers was just $680 a week, versus over $1,000 for men.

2. Retail salespersons
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 64.3%
> Women median weekly earnings: $436
> Men median weekly earnings: $678
> Number of workers: 1.84 million

ALSO READ: America's Worst Companies to Work For

Retail salespeople can work in a variety of different settings, from clothing stores to autoparts shops. The occupation is relatively low paying, with a median weekly pay of just $576 for working full-time as of 20112, compared median pay of $768 for all occupations. For women, the median 2012 pay was even lower, at just $436 for a full week. Pay at some jobs, such as sales positions at car dealerships, may also be dependent on commission. According to IWPR’s Hegewisch, women are more likely to work in non-commission paying retail jobs, such as clothing sales, while men are more likely to sell more expensive, commision-generating products, such as cars and electronics.

1. Insurance agents
> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 62.5%
> Women median weekly earnings: $641
> Men median weekly earnings: $1,026
> Number of workers: 389,000

A typical female insurance agent made less than two thirds of what a man earned in a similar occupation. Selling insurance often involves interviewing clients, modifying policies to fit individual needs, calculating premiums, and conducting inspections of property in order to customize a coverage plan appropriately. The number of women working in insurance is roughly equal to the number of men -- at 191,000 and 197,000, respectively. However, a typical woman working as an insurance agent earned $641 per week, compared to a typical man’s pay of over $1,000. Disparities in pay and opportunity in the insurance industry extend beyond the salesforce. According to a 2012 study by St. Joseph’s University, just 6% of top executive positions across the insurance industry were held by women, and only 12.6% of board seats belonged to women.

Related Articles




View Comments (59)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • Norwich Information Security MS

    Online, accredited, top ranked. NSA Center of Academic Excellence. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. Download your free brochure!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Master's Degree in Nursing

    CCNE accredited MS in nursing in as few as 18 months online. Learn more today!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

  • Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

    New website reveals how to save $1,000's when you're living paycheck to paycheck. See exactly how.

    AdChoices Media ForceSponsored
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…
  • Masters in Law Degree-Non JD

    Elevate your knowledge. Advance your career. Get Your Masters in Law. Online and Accredited. Graduate in Less Than 2 years. Free Brochure!

    AdChoicesChamplain CollegeSponsored
  • Boeing may have outfoxed Musk, but it could have bigger problems

    Elon Musk is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of the 21st Century, but he was outsized an old school aerospace giant. Boeing won the bulk of NASA’s contract for a space taxi.  One of the other companies vying for the deal is SpaceX, the company headed by Tesla’s Musk, will get a…

    Talking Numbers