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Millennials have taken over the workforce — but they still haven't solved the challenge facing their parents and grandparents before them

Matthew Michaels
Mark Wahlberg Michelle Williams

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  • Millennials now make up the largest generational group in the American workforce.
  • They face the gender pay gap just like every other age group, but to a lesser degree.
  • However, experts predict this pay gap will widen as salaries rise.

 

The gender pay gap has been a pressing issue, and the outlook for millennials may not be good.

Although the gender pay gap is smaller for millennials than for Baby Boomers or Generation X, data indicates the gap will continue to widen as millennials become more entrenched in the workplace and earn more.

Recently, celebrities have been at the forefront of pay discrepancies. When the film "All the Money in the World" needed to reshoot scenes, four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000 while co-star Mark Wahlberg made $1.5 million. 

Over on television, Hoda Kotb is making $7 million a year as Matt Lauer's replacement on NBC's "Today." Lauer — who was fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior" was earning $25 million a year.

While these examples from the world of entertainment may seem to be part of a dying problem, new data shows that the gender pay gap is very much still an issue for young people.

Paychex and IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch studied small businesses — those with less than 50 employees — to find wages and wage growth rates based on gender and age group. Paychex collected the data in September 2017 from the payrolls of its 350,000 clients.

The report found that among small business employees, young women still earn less than young men. But perhaps more concerning: Wages for millennial men are growing at a faster rate than for millennial women with comparable jobs.

BI Graphics_National millennial earnings and wage growth (1)

Samantha Lee/Business InsiderThe study showed that the average millennial makes $21.80 per hour, nearly $6 less than the national average. The report notes that lower wages for younger workers are on account of time spent in the workforce and not a result of lower productivity or skills deficiency. Overall, men make more per hour and put in slightly more hours — 39.6 hours per week for men and 37.5 hours for women.

Average hourly wages are growing at 5.8% for millennials compared t0 3.0% for workers across all age groups. The difference in growth rate should eventually level out the pay gap between age groups.

Millennial women earn less across every region and industry than their male coworkers

Working men make $6.64 per hour more than women, but the difference falls to $2.59 when looking only at millennials.

Millennial women employed by small businesses are making 89% of what men are, information that is consistent with the economy of large. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that although a gender pay gap is smaller for millennials, it still exists.

Likewise, macroeconomic figures show that the wage gap for millennials is increasing — not narrowing — over time. BLS data shows that young men and women became closest to pay parity in 2011.

BI Graphics_Millennial hourly earnings and wage growth by region (2)

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

In small businesses measured by the study, millennial men make more than their female counterparts in every region of the country. The west is the only geographic region where women have a higher wage growth rate than men.

For millennials, men make more in wages than women in every industry observed. The largest gap is found in educational and health services which also has the highest percentage of women in the field.

In all eight industries, men's wage growth also outpaces women's, meaning the gap in real wages will continue to grow.

BI Graphics_Millennial hourly earnings and wage growth by industry (1)

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

NOW WATCH: A CEO spent $6 million to close the gender pay gap at his company

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