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Greater Pay Gap for Women in White-Collar Jobs

Posted by Athena M. Herman | Jun 08, 2016 | 0 Comments

It does not come as a surprise that women generally earn less money than their male counterparts, even when performing essentially the same duties. Income disparity between men and women touches all kinds of jobs and professions. However, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal has found that highly educated women face a greater pay gap than women in traditionally more blue-collar job.

In the article, reporters looked at the pay rates between men and women in 446 occupations. The greatest disparities tended towards white-collar jobs, and jobs that require advanced degrees. Among those, doctors, compensation managers, and personal financial advisers had some of the starkest pay differences. Women, on average, made more than men in only seven of the studied occupations, and in those jobs, the difference was slight.

Female attorneys earn 79% of their male counterparts on average. Female financial managers, on average, earn $0.64 for every $1.00 a male financial manager makes. At the furthest end of the average pay spectrum, female physicians and surgeons earn an average of $135,169 per year, while males earn an average of $209,596 per year.

More women graduate from college than men. However, despite a higher rate of college education, women and men are not paid at an equal level. According to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University economics professor, a 2010 study found that upon graduation, male and female University of Chicago M.B.A. graduates received similar salaries. However, after years in the professional world, the gaps continued to grow.

One of the problems identified by researchers is that many white-collar jobs reward workers who put in extra time, don't take time off, and prioritize their job over family and other obligations. These reward systems can favor men over women. “You work more hours, you work crazy hours,” said Professor Goldin. Then, instead of more hours, “you get crazy-amount-squared more.”

According to the Labor Department, women with a bachelor's degree or higher degree earned about 76% compared to males, while women with less than a high-school diploma earned about 79% compared to males. This trend is in contrast to the gap that existed 25 years ago. In 1980, women without a high-school diploma only earned 61% compared to men.

The legal field suffers the same problems as many of the other higher education jobs. In addition to the pay gap, the number of female attorneys may be dropping. Women represent about half of law school grads entering the workplace. However, as lawyers continue to gain experience, the ratio of men to women gets further apart. After about 25 years after graduating law school, the number of men to women working as attorneys increases to 3-to-1. Last year, the percentage of female equity partners in law firms reached only 18%.

If you are being paid less than a male employee for doing the same or substantially similar work, your employer may be violating federal and state equal pay laws. If you are a victim of wage discrimination, you should speak with an experienced attorney who understands Illinois wage discrimination law. At Benassi & Benassi, we are committed to getting our clients and their families the justice they deserve.

About the Author

Athena M. Herman

Athena M. Herman practices in the areas of employment discrimination law, general employment law, and civil rights law...


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Practice Areas

Workers’ Compensation
Motor Vehicle Accident
Family Law/Dissolution
Personal Injury/Nursing Home Negligence/Medical Malpractice
Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Practice Areas

Employment Discrimination
Retaliation claims and Whistleblower in the Workplace
Class Action Lawsuit and Multi-Plaintiff Cases
Civil Rights Litigation
Employment Law