Haan, K. (2023, February 27). Gender Pay Gap Statistics In 2024. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/gender-pay-gap-statistics/

The gender pay gap refers to the difference between the average earnings of men and women in the workforce. Despite attempts to narrow the gap, women in 2022 still earned 17% less than men on average, particularly for women as they age.[1] This gender pay gap statistics report will delve into the latest statistics, uncover where the gap is still present and discuss factors that influence pay disparity between men and women.

Key Takeaways

  • In 2022, women earned 17% less than men on average.
  • Women earn just 82 cents for every dollar a man makes.
  • Men in the legal industry earn an average of 59% more than women.
  • Women of colour are among the lowest-paid workers in rural areas, with rural Black and Hispanic women making just 56 cents for every dollar that rural white, non-Hispanic men make.
  • Latinas were compensated just 54% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2021.
  • Black women were paid 58% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2020.
  • Native American women are typically paid only 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
  • A 20-year-old woman just starting full-time, year-round work stands to lose $407,760 over a 40-year career compared to her male counterpart.

General Gender Wage Gap Statistics

The average woman earns just 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. This disparity is even greater for women of colour, with African American women earning just 60 cents and Latinas earning only 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

The difference between the controlled and uncontrolled pay gap

There are two types of gender pay gaps: the controlled and uncontrolled gap. The controlled gap measures the difference in pay between men and women performing the same job, with the same experience and qualifications. The uncontrolled gap represents the overall difference in pay between men and women, considering all the jobs and industries in which they work.

What is the wage gap currently?

  • Women earned an average of 17% less than men in 2022.[1]
  • For every dollar earned by men, women earned 82 cents.[2]
  • When comparing women and men with the same job title, seniority level and hours worked, a gender gap of 11% still exists in terms of take-home pay.[1]
  • The controlled gender pay gap, which considers factors such as job title, experience, education, industry, job level and hours worked, is currently at 99 cents for every dollar men earn.[2]

Has the pay gap changed over time?

In 1963, a woman made 59 cents for each dollar earned by a man; in 2010 that number had increased to 77 cents per every dollar—an improvement of half-a-cent on average annually.[4]

Despite women representing 47% of the labour force in 2018, their real median earnings remain substantially lower than men’s.[5] The Institute for Women’s Policy Research projects that gender pay equity won’t become a reality until 2059.[6]

What factors influence the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is a complex issue influenced by various factors such as discrimination, age, working hours, parenthood (including time away from the workforce, occupational segregation, the desire for flexible work, education and the types of jobs held by men and women.[7]

Additionally, women are more likely to work more conventional hours due to responsibilities outside of work, limiting their ability to take on overtime or irregular shifts.[1] The lack of continuity in work experience, stemming from traditional patterns of women leaving the workforce during their childbearing years, also contributes to lower wages for women.[8] Moreover, employers’ reliance on prior salary history in hiring and compensation decisions can perpetuate pay discrimination from job to job.[9]

Returning to the workforce post-Covid, women vs. men

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted women’s employment, with many women not returning to the workforce after the pandemic. According to a recent report, women’s unemployment surpassed men’s by 4.1% in April 2020 and has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Women are more likely to work in the roles that were most vulnerable during pandemic shutdowns, and as a result, women’s labour force participation has continued to decline, while the unemployment rate for women has remained steady since December 2021.[3]

The number of employed people, both men and women, declined dramatically during the pandemic:
The decline was steeper for women at -13.4% compared to -11.4% for men.[4]

Employment for Asian and Hispanic women decreased 17.0% and 16.2% respectively, while the decline was the least for white women, at -12.2%[4] .

Gender Pay Gap Based on Job Title

The gender pay gap extends to nearly every profession, but the disparity in earnings particularly impacted some job titles between men and women. Understanding how the gender pay gap affects specific job titles is crucial to understanding ‌the problem and developing targeted solutions.

Gender pay gap in the C-suite

Despite the push for equal pay for equal work, women continue to earn less than men in nearly every occupation, from entry-level positions to the C-suite.

  • Only 8.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.[10]
  • Even when controlling for job characteristics, women at the executive level still earn only 95 cents for every dollar earned by men, and in the uncontrolled group, the pay gap widens to 73 cents.[2]
  • Female executives who switch firms can expect an average salary increase of 25%, compared to a 9% increase for their male counterparts.[11]

The gender pay gap for entry-level positions is 18.4%

The pay disparity is also reflected in entry-level positions, where research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows a gap of 18.4% between the average annual salaries earned by women and men, with women earning $52,266 compared to men’s $64,022.[12]

This gap is even more pronounced in high-growth and high-paying fields such as engineering and tech, where a man with comparable credentials can earn over $4,000 more in an entry-level position.[13]

Women earn more pay than men in only three job roles

There are a few areas where women earn higher salaries than their male counterparts. Women earn 3% more than men as compliance officers and vocational nurses, and 2% more as wholesale and retail buyers.[14]

There is only one job role where men and women earn the same pay

Despite the previous examples of gender pay disparity in the workforce, there is one job role where men and women earn equal pay: teaching assistants. Both genders earn an average of $34,424 per year in this role.[14] Educational guidance counsellors come in close second, with men earning a mere $104 more on average.[14]

Jobs with the smallest gender pay gap

Physical and social science jobs, along with physical therapy, are among the professions with the smallest gender pay gap, with women earning just 2% less than men.[14]

Jobs with the largest gender pay gap

When it comes to earning power, not all jobs are created equal. According to our study, real estate brokers have the largest gender pay gap, with men earning 60% more than their female counterparts. Coming in second place is personal finance advisors, where men earn 58% more than women in the same role.[14]

Gender Pay Gap by Industry

Physical and social science occupations have the smallest gender pay gap

Physical and social science occupations are known for having the narrowest gender pay gap in the workforce. However, even in this field, men still earn 9% more on average than their female counterparts.[14]

Legal occupations have the largest gender pay gap

In the legal field, men earn an average of 59% more than women.[14] This disparity in payroll is the largest among various industries.

Gender pay gap in sports (WNBA, soccer, etc.)

Male athletes in many popular sports earn significantly more than their female counterparts.

One exception, however, is the U.S. National Soccer teams, where the players on the women's and men's teams are now receiving equal pay.[15]

However, in sports such as basketball, golf, baseball and tennis, the difference in pay between male and female players can range from 15% to nearly 100%.[16] Despite the WNBA season being shorter, with 36 games compared to 82 in the NBA, the average base salary for a player in the NBA is about 44 times higher than a WNBA player's average annual salary.[17]

Gender Pay Gap by Location

Gender pay gap in sports (WNBA, soccer, etc.)

Male athletes in many popular sports earn significantly more than their female counterparts.

One exception, however, is the U.S. National Soccer teams, where the players on the women's and men's teams are now receiving equal pay.[15]

However, in sports such as basketball, golf, baseball and tennis, the difference in pay between male and female players can range from 15% to nearly 100%.[16] Despite the WNBA season being shorter, with 36 games compared to 82 in the NBA, the average base salary for a player in the NBA is about 44 times higher than a WNBA player's average annual salary.[17]

The gender pay gap varies from location to location, reflecting differences in the economies and labour markets of different states and cities. On average, women earn less than men in every state and the District of Columbia, and the gap is wider in some places than others. Factors such as the concentration of women in certain industries and the prevalence of part-time work can also play a role in the pay gap between men and women within a given location.

What states have the widest and narrowest pay gaps?

When it comes to the gender pay gap, certain states have wider disparities than others. For example, in Wyoming, the pay gap amounts to $21,676. Utah and the District of Columbia also have relatively large gaps, with respective disparities of $17,303 and $16,032.

On the other hand, in Puerto Rico, the median earnings for both men and women are relatively similar and not statistically different, with the median earnings being $22,804 for men and $23,478 for women.[7]

Worldwide gender pay gap statistics

  • On average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.[18]
  • At the current rate, it is estimated that it will take 257 years to close the global gender pay gap.[18]
  • In 2020, the European Union had the highest gender pay gap in Latvia at 22.3% and the lowest in Luxembourg at 0.7%.[19]
  • Korea has the largest gender pay gap in the world at 31.5% and Belgium has one of the smallest gaps at 3.4%.[20]

Is there a bigger gap in urban or rural areas?

The gender pay gap is a persistent issue not just in urban areas, but also in rural communities.

  • Women of colour are among the lowest-paid workers in rural areas[9]
  • Rural Black and Hispanic women who work full time, year-round making only 56 cents for every dollar earned by rural white, non-Hispanic men.[9]
  • Rural women earn only 76 cents for every dollar earned by rural men.[9]
  • Nearly two-thirds of women in rural areas are the primary or co-breadwinners for their families, making at least 25% of their family’s earnings.[9]

Gender Pay Gap by Demographics

The gender pay gap affects individuals across various demographic groups. Demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, age, motherhood status and education level all shape a person’s earning potential and experiences within the workforce. Understanding how the pay gap varies among different demographic groups can help shed light on the complex and interconnected factors that contribute to gender-based wage disparities.

Are race and ethnicity a factor in the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap affects women of different ethnicities and races differently. Latinas, Black women and Native American women all experience wider pay gaps than the average for all women.

  • In 2021, Latinas were paid just 54% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid [21] ,
  • Black women were paid 58% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2020.[21]
  • Native American women were paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.[22]

This pay gap can cost a Native American woman nearly $1 million over a lifetime of work.[22] Moreover, for Black women, the pay gap is even wider even though they participate in the workforce at much higher rates than most other women, and 68% of Black mothers are the primary or sole breadwinners for their families.

How does age influence the gender pay gap?

A 20-year-old woman starting full-time work can expect to earn $407,760 less over a 40-year career compared to a man in the same position.[22]

This pay gap persists throughout their careers, with Black women, Native American women and Latinas having to work decades longer to close the lifetime wage gap. This ultimately means that women are paid less into Social Security and receive lower benefits in retirement.[21]

How does motherhood affect women’s careers?

Motherhood can have a significant impact on a woman's career, particularly in terms of pay and workforce participation. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW):

  • Mothers are 40% more likely to report that childcare issues have negatively affected their careers.[21]
  • Women who take a year off work for caregiving purposes earn 39% less than those who did not.[21]

In 2021, 65.6% of mothers with children under the age of 6 participated in the labour force, compared to 75.5% of mothers whose youngest child was between 6 and 17 years old.[5]

Meanwhile, the participation rate for fathers with children under the age of 6 was 93.9%, which is higher than the rate for fathers whose youngest child was between 6 and 17 years old (91.5%). Despite this, fathers still participate in the workforce at a rate that is 21.1% higher than mothers.[5]

The United States is the only Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member that does not provide paid maternity leave. In addition, women do a greater share of unpaid labour at home. In 2019, data from 33 countries representing 54% of the global working-age population found that men spent 19% of their time in unpaid work, while women spent 55%.[25]

How does educational level affect the gender pay gap?

Many might believe a higher education level equates to higher pay. However, this does not hold true for women when it comes to the gender pay gap.

  • Women with a bachelor’s degree earn 74 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts with the same level of education.
  • The pay gap between men and women only widens with more education.[7]

Women with associate degrees earn similar amounts to men with bachelor’s degrees. This disparity in pay exists even among full-time, year-round workers and continues to persist at every education level. [26]

How the Gender Pay Gap Affects Retirement

The gender pay gap can significantly impact a woman’s retirement. This is due to women’s lower earnings and higher share of part-time work.[29]

  • Women contribute 30% less than men to their retirement accounts.[27] Social Security, a key component of retirement, also provides lower benefits to
  • On average, women receive 20% less than men in Social Security benefits.[28]

Additionally, women receive lower pension benefits than men, further exacerbating the difference in retirement savings. Altogether, these factors mean that women have less than men in three key areas of retirement: Social Security, pensions and savings.[21]

Conclusion

The gender pay gap affects women’s earning potential and long-term financial stability, leading to a significant difference in retirement benefits compared to men. The pay gap varies by industry, location, ethnicity, age, motherhood status and education level, with some groups experiencing a much wider gap than others.

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Sources

1.Harvard Business Review
2.Payscale
3.U.S. Chamber of Commerce
4.National Committee on Pay Equity
5.U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
6.Institute for Women’s Policy Research
7.U.S. Census Bureau
8.University of Minnesota
9.Center for American Progress
10.Women Business Collaborative
11.Harvard Business School
12.University of Louisville
13.Stanford Graduate School of Business
14.Forbes Advisor
15.Morgan Stanley
16.Adelphi University
17. Public Radio
18.United Nations
19.Statistics Explained
20.Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
21.AAUW
22.National Women’s Law Center
23.Bipartisan Policy Center
24.Pew Research Center
25.World Economic Forum
26.Population Reference Bureau
27.U.S. Government Accountability Office
28.National Partnership for Women and Families
29.Social Security Administration