Nov 01, 2016

Checking in on Wage Gaps

A new study by Deloitte suggests that the gender wage gap will not close until 2069, unless more women take up careers in science and engineering. According to Deloitte, the gender pay gap might be partly fueled by men and women choosing different career paths. Women should take advantage of technology-driven changes in the labor market by studying and working in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Pay in these fields is more balanced. The analysis finds that as many as 70 percent of women with STEM qualifications are not working in relevant industries, and that women are more likely to take up employment in caring or teaching roles.

According to the Deloitte report, there is no pay gap across medicine, dentistry, engineering, and technology. However, in all STEM subjects combined, the research found that female graduates earn an average of 8 percent less than males; this is compared to 9 percent across all other industries.

“We know that the pay gap is far smaller for those women starting their careers in STEM-related roles; we also know that high-skilled jobs demanding a blend of cognitive, social and technical skills are typically among the most highly paid. Therefore, if more women study STEM subjects and pursue related careers they will increase their earnings potential in the early years of their working lives and – should they remain in their careers – the later ones. This in turn should serve to reduce the gender pay gap.” ~Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent at Deloitte

Deloitte suggest that tackling the gender pay gap and its roots causes will depend upon strengthening the engagement between businesses, educators, and policymakers. Businesses will have to take on a greater role in helping to reduce the differences in the skills that women gain and develop. Deloitte suggests that businesses should provide educators and policymakers with practical career insights, provide more support for women returning to work, and publish detailed information on the gender pay gap.

Racial Pay Disparity

New research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) compared black and white workers’ average hourly wages, adjusting for education, experience, and region of residence. They found a sizeable wage gap between black and white workers. The research indicated that the pay disparity between white and black workers was larger in 2015 than it was in 1979.

Black men’s average hourly wages were 22 percent less than those of white men in comparable job. In 1979, this wage gap was 16.9 percent. And black women’s average hourly wages were 11.7 percent less than those of white women. In 1979, this gap was 4.5 percent.

A separate research study by Pew Research Study found that both race- and gender-based pay gaps in the United States remain significant Among full- and part-time workers in the nation in 2015, black employees earned just 75 percent as much as white employees in median hourly earnings.

Median Hourly Earnings among Those Aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more, 2015

Source: Pew Research Center

“While racial wage gaps are worse today than in 1979, the deterioration has not appeared along a straight line. During the late 1990s, the gaps shrank, due partially to tight labor markets which made discrimination more costly, and policy decisions like raising the minimum wage. Since 2000, the gaps have grown again.” ~Valerie Wilson, Director of Race, Ethnicity and the Economy Program at EPI