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Women's Pay—Jobs with Smallest Gender Gaps; Best Cities to Make Money

Vivia Chen

February 27, 2013

1. Best/Worst Jobs for Women Based on Pay Equity. Tired of hearing about how female lawyers lag behind men in the legal profession? Well, listen and learn, ladies! NPR recently posted jobs with the biggest and smallest gender gaps in pay, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

©Lisa-F.-Young-Fotolia.comJobs with the smallest gender gap (where women make 93 percent or more of the men's earnings) are:

    - Health technician

    - Counselor

    - Pharmacist

    - Buyer (wholesale and retail)

    - Office clerk

    - Social worker

    - Cafeteria worker

    - Data entry clerk

    - Paralegal

    - Warehouse clerk

    - Security guard

Women who work as health technicians and counselors actually made 3.7 percent and 2.6 percent more (respectively) than their male counterparts! And who would have guessed that security work is a ripe field for women?

Jobs with big gender gaps.  The following are the top five jobs with the worst gender gap, where women make less than 70 percent of what men make, based on full-time work (the national average is 80.9 percent) :

    - Insurance sales agent           62.5

    - Retail sale                               64.3

    - Sales                                        65.6

    - Real estate broker                66.0

    - Personal finance adviser    66.3

Overall, both the "good" and "bad" lists are depressively predictable. Women fare better in jobs where they play helper (office worker, clerk, server). But women fare poorly in jobs involving selling—which may also explain why female lawyers have such a hard time selling their services to clients and developing business.

 2. Best U.S. Cities for Working Women. Forbes lists the 20 best-paying cities for women. Let me just say, it's a rather eclectic list that included a number of places I'd never heard of. In any case, here are the top five:

    - Washington, D.C.

    - San Jose

    - Bridegeport, Connecticut

    - San Francisco

    - Trenton, New Jersey

Forbes also reports that "there are only four in which women earn equal to or more than men": Key West, Florida; Madera, California; Fort Payne, Alabama; and Sebring, Florida. With the exception of Key West, I don't know those other places. Maybe I've been missing out on the female nirvanas of North America.

3. Best Place in the World for Working Women: Drum roll, please. The honor belongs to Luxembourg. Reports e financial career:

The tiny, wealthy Grand Duchy is the only place on earth where median salaries for women are higher than for men, according to a report by STATEC, the country’s statistics bureau.

Luxembourg women took home a median full-time salary of €45,767 in 2010, about 3 percent more than the €44,224 earned by men.

And the reason is that women there work in high-paying fields. "More than a quarter of female employees in Luxembourg work in the most lucrative sectors, including finance and insurance, compared with only 15 percent of men."

Quick—which international law firms are in Luxembourg? Time to do a Google search!


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Perhaps I should move to Luxembourg...

It's unfortunate that income gender gaps still exist. It might be a slow process to a culture switch, but we've seen a lot of changes happen in the last few decades for bad cultural traits -- this one is possible too!

Alana, The worst Wall Street collapse in decades occurred as soon as women started taking leading roles on Wall Street - Erin Callan at Lehman and Sally Krawczek at Citi. The Goldman partner who is responsible for the fraudulent reports of Greece's debt burden was a female.

So, there's your answer.

Hi there,
Thanks for this informative post. The Luxembourg statistics are probably repeated all over Europe, which as a continent has done so much more for women's rights than the US, in my opinion. What is your opinion on women-led financial institutions? Do you think they'd outperform those that are predominantly led by men?

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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