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The 20 worst paying jobs for women

24/7 Wall St. logo 24/7 Wall St. 3/27/2017 Samuel Stebbins and Thomas C. Frohlich

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 While significant progress has been made in the United States, severe inequalities remain. For example, even though women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and even after controlling for experience, education level, and age, men are paid more.

The gender pay gap differs widely across industries and specific occupations. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed female weekly earnings as a percentage of male weekly earnings in full-time wage and salary jobs using data from the Bureau of Labor statistics.

The 20 jobs with the lowest pay equity between men and women range from first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers, a job in which the typical woman earns 72.8% of male earnings, to personal financial advisors, a job in which women earn 55.6% of what men in the same job are paid. For reference, women across all such occupations earn 81.9% of male earnings.

The occupations with the widest gender pay gaps tend to be high paying jobs overall. The median weekly wage for 16 of the 20 jobs on this list is greater than the national median of $832 a week. Finance industry jobs, which are often among the highest paid in the country, are well represented on this list.

Researchers at the University of Chicago examined gender discrimination in the financial advisory industry. Not only are female employees at financial firms paid less than comparable male workers, but also according to the study, “When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct,” punishments for professional missteps are less forgiving for women than for men.

Compared to men in similar roles, women financial advisors are less likely to misstep, such misconduct is less costly, and female advisors are less likely to be repeat offenders. Yet, women in the industry are not only paid less, but report harsher punishments, and are less likely to be hired after being fired.

Gregor Matvos, associate professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth school of business, is one of the authors on the study. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Matvos noted that the harsher punishments for women in this industry can partially feed into the wage gap. “If you walk a tighter margin, any mistake you make will potentially lead to you losing the job, preventing you from progressing in your career path.”

The share of men and women in each occupation’s workforce also plays a role in the overall gender pay gap. Women are more represented in lower paying jobs. The share of female employees is lower than the nationwide average of 44.3% in 15 of the 20 highest paying jobs. At the same time, women are disproportionately represented in 14 of the 20 lowest paying full-time jobs.

Research has shown females often face greater gender discrimination in male-dominated work environments. Yet, occupations in which women comprise a majority of the workforce are not immune to gross pay disparities. Women are the majority in nine of the 20 most unequal paying jobs for women.

To determine the worst paying jobs for women, 24/7 Wall St. compared median weekly wages of men and women for 2016 in 120 full-time occupations from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, a program sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The worst paying jobs for women are the occupations where women earn the least compared to men in the same jobs. Total employment figures, the percentage of men and women in each occupation, and educational requirements also came from the BLS. We also considered inflation-adjusted median weekly wages and employment figures for each year from 2007 through 2016 from the CPS. Estimated annual compensation was calculated by multiplying the median weekly wage by 52.

Click through to see the 20 worst paying jobs for women.

20. First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 72.8%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $485
> Men's median weekly earnings: $666
> Number of workers: 425,000

First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers have one of the largest gender pay gaps of any profession in the country. The typical woman working in the field earns less than 73 cents for every dollar the typical male in the same job earns.

Women working as supervisors of food preparation and serving workers are at an additional disadvantage as the job is not especially high paying to begin with. The typical worker earns $27,456 annually, versus the estimated annual median salary across all occupations of $43,264. Like many of the lowest paying full-time jobs, women comprise a majority of serving worker supervisors.

19. Designers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 72.8%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $922
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,267
> Number of workers: 586,000

The broad employment category of designers includes graphic designers, floral designers, and industrial designers. Nearly an equal share of men and women are designers. The difference in compensation between men and women in the field, however, differs significantly. While the typical male designer brings home an estimated $65,884 a year, the typical female designer brings home only $47,944 a year.

Compared to 2007, wages for female designers are up by 14.0%, well above the 5.2% growth for female wages across all full-time occupations. However, wages for men in the same position have risen faster, by 22.2% in the last 10 years.

18. Financial analysts

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 71.7%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,252
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,747
> Number of workers: 277,000

While not necessarily the case in occupations with relatively wide gender pay gaps, there are significantly fewer women financial analysts than there are men. Women comprise 37.5% of financial analysts, compared to their 44.3% share among all full-time workers nationwide. The gender wage gap tends to be wider in high-paying jobs. The typical financial analyst earns an estimated $79,300 annually, well above the estimated national annual salary of $43,264

A recent March 2017 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that following an incidence of misconduct, female advisers in the finance industry are 20% more likely to lose their jobs and 30% less likely to find new jobs relative to their male peers.

17. Lodging managers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 71.5%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $764
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,068
> Number of workers: 124,000

Of all hotel, resort, or bed and breakfast managers in the United States, 51.6% are women. While more women work in the field than men, their salaries tend to be far lower. The profession is one of only 29 in the country where women’s median weekly pay is less than 75% of men's pay.

The weekly wage for the typical female lodging manager is up by 6.6% since 2007, compared to the 10-year growth of 5.2% for women in all full-time occupations. Wages dropped for all lodging workers last year, however, and the decline was worse for women than for men. While male weekly wages declined by 10%, female wages declined by 16%.

16. Bartenders

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 71.0%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $498
> Men's median weekly earnings: $701
> Number of workers: 253,000

In the service industry, bartending has one of the worst discrepancies in pay between men and women. The typical female bartender earns 71 cents for every dollar the typical male earns doing the same work. Part of the explanation could be hiring habits among more expensive establishments. According to a study of restaurants in New York by advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, men are more likely to work in higher end, higher paying bars than women.

There are just over a quarter million bartenders working in the United States, and almost half of them are women.

15. Accountants and auditors

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 70.6%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,018
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,441
> Number of workers: 1.5 million

Pay equity is less likely in male-dominated occupations. Still, some of the worst gender pay gaps are in occupations with high shares of female employees. Of all occupations with the worst gender pay gaps, none more heavily consists of women than accounting and auditing jobs. Of the roughly 1.5 million Americans employed as accountants or auditors, 61.5% are women.

The gender pay gap across all full-time jobs is smaller today than it was 10 years ago. For accountants and auditors, however, it is slightly larger. Wages for men and women working full-time are up from 2007 by 3.0% and 5.2% respectively. Male accountants and auditors earn 4.7% more today than in 2007, compared to the wage growth of just 2.3% for women in the occupation.

14. Property, real estate, and community association managers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 70.4%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $815
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,157
> Number of workers: 402,000

Property, real estate, and community association managers are responsible for the various aspects of maintaining commercial and residential properties. Such workers assist in sales, as well as inspections, contracting landscapers, record keeping, and more. The typical male working as a property and real estate manager earns an estimated $60,164 a year. The typical female working in the exact same position earns only $42,380 annually.

Over the last decade, wages went up across all full-time occupations, and the gender pay gap shrank. By contrast, wages of women working as property managers declined by 4.0%, while wages for men in the occupation, increased by 2.8%.

13. Retail salespersons

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 70.4%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $514
> Men's median weekly earnings: $730
> Number of workers: 1.8 million

Retail sales jobs are some of the most common jobs in the country -- approximately 1.8 million people work full-time in such positions. Women comprise 40.0% of retail salespersons, compared to 44.3% of all full-time occupations. Millions more Americans work these jobs part-time, for which weekly wages are even lower.

Unlike nearly every other job on this list, wages for men in retail sales positions have declined since 2007, while women earn 8.3% more compared to a decade ago. Despite the wage increase for women, the typical woman working in the job earns $514 per week, 70.4% what a man in the same position makes.

12. Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 70.0%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $584
> Men's median weekly earnings: $834
> Number of workers: 686,000

Research has shown females often face greater gender discrimination in male-dominated work environments. Still, occupations in which women comprise a majority of the workforce are not immune to gross pay disparities.

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers of raw and finished materials, who are responsible for identifying defects and ensuring quality, are more likely to be women than men. Women earn only 70 cents for every dollar men earn in the same job. On an annual basis, the typical male working as an inspector and tester of materials earns an estimated $43,368, while the typical woman in the field earns only $30,368 a year.

11. Credit counselors and loan officers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 69.6%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $926
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,331
> Number of workers: 351,000

Credit counselors and loan officers evaluate loan applications and advise on debt management and acquisition for businesses and individuals. It is one of only 11 full-time occupations nationwide where women earn less than 70 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. On an annual basis, the typical man in the field earns an estimated $69,212. Meanwhile, the estimated median annual pay for women is only $48,152.

Unequal pay in the financial industry may be a more serious problem than in other sectors. Credit counselors and loan officers are one of several finance-related occupations with a near nation-leading gender pay gap.

10. Financial managers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 69.3%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,157
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,670
> Number of workers: 1.1 million

A March 2017 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that at firms in the financial services sector with disproportionately male workforces women were more likely to face gender discrimination. Of all financial managers, slightly more than half are women. Yet, women working the job still earn significantly less than their male peers. The NBER study also found that following an incidence of misconduct, females in the financial advisory industry face harsher punishments than males despite lower likelihood of repeat offenses. Such incidents were also found to be less costly than those involving male employees.

9. Other teachers and instructors

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 69.3%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $786
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,135
> Number of workers: 370,000

Other teachers and instructors includes a range of occupations that do not fit neatly into other education-related job categories. They include such workers as literacy instructors, self-enrichment educators, substitute teachers, and tutors. The range of jobs within the occupation often pay very differently. This may be one of the many factors that helps explain the gender pay gap. The typical female in the field earns only $786 a week, while the typical male in the field earns $1,135 a week.

8. Sales representatives, services, all other

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 68.7%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $826
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,202
> Number of workers: 427,000

Sales representative, services, all other, encompasses miscellaneous sale-related jobs. According to the BLS, such occupations include anything from a business sales representative, to a membership solicitor. Like most of the occupations with the widest gender pay gaps, sales representatives, including women, are relatively well paid. But while the median weekly wage for women in the occupation of $826 is above average, it is equal to just 68.7% of the $1,202 weekly median income for men.

Women comprise a minority share of sales representatives and services jobs. Of the 427,000 Americans working in the field, just over one third are women.

7. Administrative services managers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 68.1%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $952
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,398
> Number of workers: 172,000

A college degree is a common way to increase earning potential, and women with bachelor’s degrees earn considerably more than women without a college education. At the same time, in some occupations, men appear to benefit substantially more from their degrees than women. For example, a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for administrative services managers, who plan and direct administrative services for a given organization. Yet women working in such jobs earn only about 68 cents for every dollar men in the same positions earn. The position is one of several managerial jobs in which women are significantly underpaid.

6. Marketing and sales managers

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 65.4%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,142
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,745
> Number of workers: 921,000

Sales and marketing managers are responsible for setting sales goals and planning and coordinating marketing initiatives. These jobs are much higher paying for men than they are for women. The estimated median annual earnings for the 403,000 women working these jobs full-time nationwide is $59,384. Meanwhile, the median annual income for men in the occupation is $90,740. Marketing sales managers require skill sets from both sales and management fields, two professions that often have especially wide gender pay gaps.

5. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 65.2%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $951
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,458
> Number of workers: 219,000

Women are underrepresented in financial services sales occupations. Only 28.8% of the 219,000 Americans employed full-time in financial service sales are women. Women in the field face one of the largest gender pay gaps of any job in the country, earning only 65 cents for every dollar men in the same occupation earn.

Weekly wages among female financial services sales agents increased by 22.8% last year, an exceptionally large growth especially when compared with other jobs on this list. Still, in contrast to the improvement across all jobs, the occupation’s gender wage gap is much worse than it was a decade ago and remains one of the worst of any job. Female weekly wages are 21% lower than in 2007, versus a slight increase for male wages over that period.

4. Real estate brokers and sales agents

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 63.8%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $780
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,222
> Number of workers: 493,000

Nearly 58% of all real estate brokers in the United States are women. The higher employment share has not reduced the gender pay gap, however. The typical female real estate agent earns only 64 cents for every dollar the typical male real estate agent earns. Like many jobs on this list, the pay gap has only worsened in recent years. While men’s earnings are up by 2.6% in the past decade, women’s earnings decreased by 4.1%.

According to a study conducted by CREW Network, a group working to advance the achievements of women in commercial real estate, women working in the industry frequently cite gender discrimination and family constraints among the top barriers to professional advancement.

3. Physicians and surgeons

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 63.0%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $1,476
> Men's median weekly earnings: $2,343
> Number of workers: 806,000

Male physicians and surgeons outnumber women in the profession, and are paid more. Women earn only 63 cents for every dollar men earn in the same positions. The lower pay of women may have little to do with their minority status in the field. According to a 2015 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, men earn considerably more than women in nursing as well, an occupation traditionally dominated by women.

Wages for physicians and surgeons have grown considerably in the last 10 years and unlike most of the worst jobs for women, the gender pay gap is closing. Men in the field earn 12.5% more compared to 10 years ago, and women earn 19.8% more than in 2007.

2. Insurance sales agents

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 58.0%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $676
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,166
> Number of workers: 423,000

Many jobs with the largest gender pay gaps are in sales -- but nowhere is the gap greater than among insurance sales agents. The occupation is one of only two in the country where women earn less than 60% of what men in the same roles earn. And like many other jobs on this list, the pay gap for such workers is getting worse. Median earnings for women in insurance sales has decreased by 9.5% in the last decade. Meanwhile, men in the same job have benefitted from a 4.8% earnings increase over that period.

1. Personal financial advisors

© Thinkstock> Women’s earnings as pct. of men’s: 55.6%
> Women’s median weekly earnings: $953
> Men's median weekly earnings: $1,714
> Number of workers: 399,000

No job has a wider pay discrepancy between men and women than personal financial advisors. The typical female worker in the job earns less than $1,000 a week compared to the median weekly wage for men in the occupation of $1,714.

A March 2017 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that following an incidence of misconduct, females in the financial advisory industry tend to face harsher punishments and are less likely to find new jobs compared to male employees. Researchers also found evidence that despite the harsher punishments, incidents involving women were on average less costly, and women were less likely than men to repeat offenses. The discrimination was found to be greater at firms with greater shares of male workers compared to female workers. Across the United States, just 35.6% of personal financial advisors are women, well below the 44.3% share of full-time workers nationwide who are women.

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