Industries With the Largest Gender Pay Gap


As a woman in the workplace in the US, it is understood that there exists a truly unfair gender-related pay gap. While the gap has been steadily shrinking in recent years, it is still very prevalent.  

According to a study by Glassdoor in the US, women still earn about 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes for accomplishing the same work under the same conditions. If you are looking into certain professions or thinking of changing jobs, it is worthwhile to see where the gender pay gap is greatest or where it is less pronounced, so you can consider how you want to move forward with salary negotiations or what strategies you want to employ when in salary consideration.

Some of the industries with the largest gender pay gap

Perhaps not surprisingly, the gender wage gap is greatest in traditionally male-dominated industries. Many of these have had the most difficulty in responding to shifting demographics and have resisted efforts to have wage transparency, often discouraging employees from discussing their salaries. This has exacerbated the wage gap issue. 

  1. Airline Pilots: According to Women in Aviation International, women pilots make up only about 7% of pilots. That is, out of the over 600,000 aviators world-wide, women represent only about 50,000.It is the greatest pay gap of any US profession. However, advancements are being made. The number of female aviation students is growing, which hopefully means there will be more women pilots in the future, leading to greater representation at the negotiation table. 
  2. Professional Chefs: Anyone who has worked in restaurant kitchens knows that it is a very machismo and male-dominated world. According to a Bloomberg study, less than 7% of kitchens are run by women. At the time of the study, famous chef impresarios like David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, did not employ any women as head chefs at any of their over 50 top restaurants. In general, the number of male chefs greatly outnumber females by about three times. According to data usa it comes out to 76% of men to only 23% women. And women in these positions make an average of $9,000 less than men, with the average male salary in a kitchen being about $36.5k and female salary closer to $27.5k. Today, women in this industry are breaking out on their own (ask Top Chef winner, Stephanie Izard) and acting as mentors for other women in the field.
  3. C-Suite executives: Women who have faced the glass ceiling (and the glass cliff) phenomenons for too long definitely recognize that C-suite executive culture is slow to address the gender gap. While women have been replacing men slightly more frequently in recent years (up to 22% in 2018 from 18% in 2017) competitive compensation has still not been offered. In general, female executives earn 24% less than men in the same position. In order for there to be any progress, women who have already blazed the trail forward are giving back by setting up mentorship possibilities. Organizations like the women’s business development center create opportunities for female leaders in business to connect with those who are working to make a name for themselves. 



One way to fight the gap? Better negotiation tactics

One of the largest factors in the continuation of the gender pay gap is one that has to do with women not advocating for themselves properly in pay negotiations.  According to a Harvard Law article, studies of salary negotiation indicate that women tend not to achieve similar positive financial results as men. 

Of course, there are societal biases involved, but much of this can be counteracted, it would seem, by improving education for women surrounding negotiation. Jens Mazei of the University of Münster studied how women could capitalize on some strategies to gain an advantage in the negotiations game. The findings show that women have a better chance if they rethink how they negotiate.

  • Advocate for others: Women are shown to be more aggressive about negotiation when they are doing it for someone else. Instead of thinking of themselves then, when they consider their team or act as an advocate for future female workers, they tend to improve their financial situation.
  • Train in negotiation tactics: Women who were trained in negotiation narrowed the gender wage gap significantly, according to Mazie’s research. 
  • Do the research: Mazie also discovered that when women did more research into how much male counterparts were making, they were more likely to negotiate more effectively. Due diligence can include asking friends in the industry and checking in with sites like Glassdoor. Then it is positive to be assertive and reference this research when in an interview. 

While it is true that the wage gap is shrinking, there are still many industries where this is not the case. In fact, it’s even permeated the life insurance industry. By connecting with mentors and learning the right strategies for negotiation, women in the workplace can work to try to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with the gender wage gap and get a win that will allow them to soon be mentors for the next generation. 

Author Bio:

Sierra Skelly is a creative writer and marketer from San Diego. She loves making personal finance and career content fun. When she isn’t writing for companies like Haven Life, you can find her reading at the beach or hiking.

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