Women Face Widest Wage Gap in Financial Service Jobs, But Out-Earn Men in Food Service

Washington, DC— Women earn at least 5 cents less per dollar than men for full-time work in 108 of the 125 occupations for which there are enough data to calculate the gender wage gap, according to a new analysis released today, Equal Pay Day, by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Women earn at least 5 cents on the dollar more than men in just five occupations. Women face the largest wage gap as securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, where women earn just 64 cents for every dollar earned by male agents.

The highest paid occupations generally see the largest gender gaps: almost all of the ten occupations with the largest gender wage gaps having earnings above $886, the median weekly earnings for all full-time workers. By contrast, women are most likely to out-earn men in fast food service, where women earn $1.15 for every dollar earned by men, where median weekly earnings for all workers are just $436.

The analysis finds racial disparities compound gender inequality in the labor market. A quarter of Hispanic women work in ‘service’ occupations, with median weekly earnings for full-time work of just $489, less than the federal poverty threshold for a family of four. Service work has the lowest earnings for workers of each of the largest racial and ethnic groups, but Hispanic women service workers are even less likely to be in the better paid jobs in the field and their median weekly earnings are only 65 percent of White men service workers. Service workers include cleaning and maintenance, protective services, and food preparation and service, health care support, and personal care services.

IWPR Program Director for Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch commented on the analysis:
“The U.S. labor market is starkly segregated by gender and this is a major piece of the equal pay puzzle. The concentration of men and women into different jobs represents a double whammy for women: not only do jobs typically done by women tend to pay less than those done by men, but women also tend to earn less than men—at the same level of education and training—in the jobs women are most likely to do.”

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. also commented:
“Skeptics often point to women and men ‘choosing’ different jobs as a reasonable justification for the gender wage gap, but the truth is that few people choose to earn poverty-level pay while working full-time. One major way to address pay inequality is to invest in our public care infrastructure through policies like paid leave and affordable child care, which will not only improve the pay and economic security of workers in many jobs, it will also make it easier for women and men with care responsibilities for family members and others to stay economically active and advance in their careers.”