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Occupation, industry biggest factors in gender pay gap: study

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 19:32

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The biggest obstacle to women receiving equal wages is the sorting of the sexes into different jobs and industries, while differences in education, age and experience account for only a small portion of the gender pay gap, according to new research.

[NEW YORK] The biggest obstacle to women receiving equal wages is the sorting of the sexes into different jobs and industries, while differences in education, age and experience account for only a small portion of the gender pay gap, according to new research.

Although US Census figures show women comprise 47 per cent of the workforce and are more likely to earn a college degree, they still hold a disproportionate share of lower-paying jobs, while men dominate executive positions.

"For a whole bunch of reasons, through the education system and the workplace, women are being pushed into different kinds of roles," said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at jobs and recruiting marketplace Glassdoor. "This is the single largest factor we see contributing to today's gender pay gap," he said in an interview.

Chamberlain used data from more than 500,000 salary reports on Glassdoor to compare the gender pay gap and identify patterns across industries and jobs that contribute to it in five countries.

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It showed the pay divide ranged from 24.1 per cent in the United States, where women are paid about 76 cents for every dollar men make, to roughly 22.8 per cent in the United Kingdom, 22.5 per cent in Germany, 17.3 per cent in Australia and 14.3 per cent in France.

When Chamberlain factored in controls for age, education, experience, occupation, industry, location and company, the adjusted pay gap fell to 5.4 per cent in the United States and was similar across the five nations. "It is still a highly significant and large gap," he said.

The pay divide varied by occupation and industry. It increased with age, from about 2 per cent between the ages of 18-24 to more than 10 per cent for women 55-64.

In the United States, the industries with the largest adjusted gender pay gap are healthcare and insurance, at 7.2 per cent, followed by mining and metals, at 6.8 per cent. The smallest is in aerospace and defense, and agriculture and forestry, at 2.5 per cent.

Computer programmer, chef, dentist and executive were the occupations with the largest adjusted gender pay divides. The gap is smallest for jobs as social workers, merchandisers and research assistants. "Women still bear a disproportionate share of care for elderly in the family and for children - that factor drives women into jobs that may be lower-paying but have more flexibility," said Chamberlain. "Those issues still haven't been corrected."

REUTERS

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