Full text of The Earnings Gap between Women and Men (1976)
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Between Women and Men U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration Women's Bureau 1976 CONTENTS Page Occupational Status 2 Educational Attainment 2 Work Experience • • • • • 3 Overtime Work 4 D i f f e r e n t i a l s by Race 4 Conclusion 5 Tables 6 THE EAKNINGS GAP BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN Women who worked at year-round f u l l - t i m e 1./ 57 cents f o r every d o l l a r earned by men. (Table men's median weekly earnings exceeded women's by to work n e a r l y 9 days to gross the same earnings jobs i n 1974 earned only 1, column 4.) In f a c t , about $97 2/ and women had men grossed i n 5 days. The earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l was wider i n 1974 than i t was 19 years earlier. In 1974 the $11,835 earned by men was 75 percent more than the $6,772 earned by women (column 5). In 1955 men's earnings exceeded women's by 56 p e r c e n t - - s u b s t a n t i a l l y l e s s . When the absolute difference between the earnings of men and women over the 19-year period i s expressed i n constant d o l l a r terms, to take i n t o account the deflated purchasing power of the d o l l a r , the d i s p a r i t y i s even more evident. The difference increased more than 79 percent—from $1,911 i n 1955 to $3,433 i n 1974 (column 6). The widening male-female d i f f e r e n t i a l i s a contrast to the gains women have made i n employment i n recent years. Two primary factoifs have c o n t r i b uted to the widening gap. F i r s t , despite the f a c t that increasing numbers o f women are securing higher l e v e l and better paying p o s i t i o n s , there i s s t i l l a predominance o f women i n lower status occupations of a t r a d i t i o n a l nature which provide l i m i t e d opportunity f o r advancement. Second, the dynamic r i s e i n women's labor force p a r t i c i p a t i o n has r e s u l t e d i n a larger proportion o f women who are i n or near the entry l e v e l . The labor force p a r t i c i p a t i o n rate of women (the proportion of a l l women 16 years of age and over who are i n the labor force) has s t e a d i l y increased during the post-World War I I era; over the past 25 years i t has r i s e n from 33.9 to 46.3 percent. In 1950 women accounted f o r 29.6 percent o f the c i v i l i a n labor force; i n 1975 they made up about 40 percent of the work f o r c e . Many o f the new entrants as w e l l as the reentrants to the labor f o r c e must o f t e n accept r e l a t i v e l y low-paying jobs which tend to p u l l down t h e i r median earnings. Women are c l e a r l y overrepresented among those workers whose earnings are low. They are 3.7 times as l i k e l y as men to be earning between $3,000 and $4,999, and 3 times as l i k e l y to be w i t h i n the $5,000 to $6,999 earnings range. (See table 2, colimm 5). Women are much less l i k e l y than men to be earning $10,000 to ^4,999 and $15,000 and over. Despite the f a c t that women were 32 percent of a l l year-round f u l l - t i m e earners i n 1974, they accounted f o r 63 percent of workers earning between $3,000 and $4,999; they made up 58 percent of those earning $5,000 to $6,999 (column 6). Women accounted f o r only 5 percent o f a l l year-round f u l l - t i m e workers earning $15,000 and over. F i f t y - t h r e e percent of women yet only 18 percent o f men earned less than $7,000; 82 percent of women but only 38 percent o f men earned less than $10,000 (coltimns 7 and 8). 1/ 2/ $5,063. Worked 50 to 52 weeks, 35 hours or more a week. The $11,835 earned by men minus $6,772 earned by women equals This amount d i v i d e d by 52 weeks equals $97.37. These differences between the earnings of men and women suggest that women are being paid less for doing the same job. Undoubtedly t h i s i s true i n some instances, but other factors are also s i g n i f i c a n t . F i r s t , women are concentrated i n those occupations which are less s k i l l e d and i n which wages are r e l a t i v e l y low. Second, women working on f u l l - t i m e schedules tend to work less overtime than men. Third, although women are as w e l l educated as their male counterparts i n terms of median years of schooling completed, there are differences i n the kinds of education, t r a i n i n g , and counseling they receive, which d i r e c t s them i n t o t r a d i t i o n a l and low-paying jobs. Fourth, women on the average have fewer years of w o r k l i f e experience than men. Studies have shown, however, that even a f t e r adjusting f o r some of these and other factors such as age, region, and i n d u s t r i a l concentration, much of the male-female earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l remains unexplained—representing a maximum measure of discrimination. Occupational Status Despite recent changes i n the structure of the labor force, and women's increasing attachment to t h e i r jobs, h i s t o r i c a l patterns concerning *'men's jobs" and "women's jobs" s t i l l p e r s i s t to a large degree. Although t h i s pattern has become less r i g i d i n recent years, such sex stereotyping s t i l l seems to r e s t r i c t or discourage women from entering many higher paying, t r a d i t i o n a l l y male occupations. Of prime importance» then, i n explaining the earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l i s the concentration of women i n r e l a t i v e l y lowpaying occupations and i n lower status p o s i t i o n s w i t h i n even the higher paid major occupation groups. In 1974 the earnings gap was largest among sales workers, where men were more often i n high-paying commissioned, n o n r e t a i l jobs while women worked p r i m a r i l y i n r e t a i l trade. Men's earnings exceeded women's by 142 percent. (See table 3.) The earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l was smallest among nonfarm laborers (38 percent). Among p r o f e s s i o n a l and t e c h n i c a l workers, men earned 55 percent more than women. Here, doctors, lawyers, judges, engineers, college educators, or a r c h i t e c t s were l i k e l y to be men, while noncollege teachers, nurses, l i b r a r i a n s , d i e t i t i a n s , and health technologists were u s u a l l y women. When a comparison i s made of the s a l a r i e s of f u l l y employed women i n the same h i g h l y s k i l l e d , d e t a i l e d occupations, the gap narrows but does not disappear. The median s a l a r i e s of women s c i e n t i s t s i n 1970 were from $1,700 to $5,100 less than those of men i n the same f i e l d s . The gap was greatest i n chemistry, where women earned a median s a l a r y of only $10,500-as compared w i t h $15,600 for men. (See table 4.) Educational Attainment The educational background of a worker often determines not only the type of job but also the l e v e l w i t h i n an occupation f o r which a worker can qualify. However, women who work year round f u l l time earn s u b s t a n t i a l l y less than f u l l y employed men who have the same number of years of education, (See table 5.) In f a c t , i n 1974 women w i t h 4 years of c o l l e g e had lower - 2 - incomes than men who had only completed the 8th grade, and only 59 percent of the income of men w i t h 4 years of college* F u l l y employed women high school graduates (no college) had less income on the average than f u l l y employed men who had not completed elementary school; women's income was only 57 percent of that of t h e i r male counterpartsThe absolute d o l l a r gap between men and women widens w i t h increasing l e v e l s of educational attainment, except for 5 or more years of college. The r e l a t i v e income p o s i t i o n of women (income of women as a percentage of that of men) (column 4) reverses i t s downward trend w i t h the completion of high school, and begins to r i s e w i t h college attendance, reaching a maximum w i t h postgraduate education. The extent to which men's income exceeds women's i s r e f l e c t e d i n the r e l a t i v e income d i f f e r e n t i a l s (colximn 5) which reach a minimum with 5 or more years of c o l l e g e . The f a c t that the marginal return on the investments i n education i s greater for men than for women i s confirmed by the data i n columns 6 and 7 of table 5. Only among workers completing 5 years of college or more i s the return from an a d d i t i o n a l educ a t i o n a l investment greater for women. Work Experience In addition to differences i n education as an explanation for the earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l between men and women, a worker's earnings are also a f f e c t e d by the amount of experience he or she has on the job or, i n general, the average nxamber of years a person works during h i s or her l i f e t i m e . Data show that the number of years a woman works more than t r i p l e d between 1900 and 1960, having increased by about one-third i n the decade 1950 to 1960. (See table below.) Although the gap i n w o r k l i f e expectancy between men and women i s s t i l l wide, i t has narrowed considerably, due i n large part to the increasing w o r k l i f e expectancy of women and the decline i n expectancy of men (since 1950). Persons born i n Worklife expectancy ( i n years) Year Women Men Gap 1900 1940 1950 1960 1970 6.3 12.1 15.1 20.1 22.9 32.1 38.1 41.5 41.1 40.1 25.8 26.0 26.4 21.0 17.2 Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor S t a t i s t i c s . The discontinuous pattern of the worklives of many women also adversely a f f e c t s t h e i r earning p o t e n t i a l . Women, upon reentering the labor market a f t e r a period of absence—perhaps devoted to c h i l d b e a r i n g and other family r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s - - o f t e n experience d i f f i c u l t y i n f i n d i n g a job, p a r t i c u l a r l y one which i s rewarding and which u t i l i z e s past t r a i n i n g and experience. - 3 - In view of the important e f f e c t of experience on earnings, one would expect that young men and women w i t h the same educational background i n the same occupational f i e l d would receive the same beginning s a l a r i e s . Surveys of s t a r t i n g s a l a r i e s for men and women graduating from c o l l e g e , however, have for many years revealed rather s t a r t l i n g differences i n " o f f e r s " between men and women. This gap has narrowed appreciably i n recent years, but i t i s s t i l l apparent i n some f i e l d s . According to a November 1974 survey of 60 companies, the s a l a r i e s expected to be offered to women who would graduate from c o l l e g e i n June 1975 averaged only s l i g h t l y less than those to be offered to men w i t h the same college major. (See table 6.) This was a marked change from e a r l i e r years when o f f e r s a l a r i e s of women were s u b s t a n t i a l l y below those of men. In 1970, f o r example, the spread i n o f f e r s between men and women ranged from d e f i c i t s of $86 for women i n accounting down to $18 i n economics and finance. But i n 1975, the range was from a $48 d e f i c i t i n marketing-retailing and sales to a $26 advantage i n general business. These f i g u r e s , of course, do not i n d i c a t e that d i f f e r e n t ' s a l a r i e s are being offered to women and men h i r e d by the same company f o r the same job, but are averages of o f f e r s by a l l surveyed companies planning to employ graduates i n that f i e l d . Overtime Work Men are almost three times as l i k e l y as women to work overtime. The proportion of men who worked 41 hours or more averaged about 28 percent i n May 1975; only 13 percent of women worked overtime. Of the 14 m i l l i o n persons who worked overtime i n May 1975, about 8.2 m i l l i o n (58 percent) were men aged 25 to 54. Not only i s the proportion o f women working overtime r e l a t i v e l y small, but women's weekly earnings, even w i t h premium pay included, remain low. About 2 out of 3 women who worked overtime i n May 1975--but only 1 out o f 5 men"eamed less than $150 a week. Only 18 percent of the women, yet 57 percent o f the men, earned $200 or more a week. Median overtime earnings f o r a l l men were $215 a week; they were only $138 f o r women (table 7). D i f f e r e n t i a l s by Race The earnings of both minority race 2/ women and white women are subs t a n t i a l l y less than the earnings of men, e i t h e r minority or white. Further, f u l l y employed minority women continue to earn less than s i m i l a r l y employed white women, although the gap has narrowed i n recent years. As shown i n table 8, minority women who worked the year round at f u l l time jobs had a median wage or salary income o f $6,611 i n 1974—94 percent of that o f white women, 73 percent of that o f minority men, and 54 percent of that o f white men. In 1960 the corresponding proportions were 70, 63, and 42 percent. 2/ Includes a l l races other than white; Spanish-origin persons are u s u a l l y included i n the white population. - 4 - The earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l between minority men and women was cons i d e r a b l y l e s s than that between white men and women. White men's earnings exceeded white women's by about 76 percent; earnings o f minori t y men were only 37 percent greater than those of minority women. Conclusion As s o c i e t a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l b a r r i e r s are broken, more women can be employed at the l e v e l t h e i r s k i l l warrants and they can be afforded wider opportunities to enhance t h e i r educational and vocational s k i l l s i n p a r t i c u l a r areas f o r which there i s increasing demand. Schools must help provide much needed career guidance and counseling assistance. Employers must respond, too, by o f f e r i n g women greater opportunity to obtain s p e c i f i c on-the-job t r a i n i n g . Organized labor must a l s o make a concerted e f f o r t to open more s k i l l e d trades to women. As women are allowed easier access to more h i g h l y paid p r o f e s s i o n a l , t e c h n i c a l , managerial, and c r a f t occupations, only then w i l l the earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l narrow. - 5 - Table Comparison of Median Earnings of Year-Round Ftill-Time Workers, by Sex, 1955-1974 (Persons 14 years o f age and over) Year Median earnings Men Women (2) (1) 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969 1968 1967 1966 1965 1964 1963 1962 1961 1960 1959 1958 1957 1956 1955 $6,772 6,335 5,903 5,593 5,323 4,977 4,457 4,150 3,973 3,823 3,690 3,561 3,446 3,351 3,293 3,193 3,102 3,008 2,827 2,719 Earnings gap i n dollars (3) Notes: $11,835 11,186 10,202 9,399 8,966 8,227 7,664 7,182 6,848 6,375 6,195 5,978 5,974 5,644 5,417 5,209 4,927 4,713 4,466 4,252 Women's earnings as a percent of men's (4) $5,063 4,851 4,299 3,806 3,643 3,250 3,207 3,032 2,875 2,552 2,505 2,417 2,528 2,293 2,124 2,016 1,825 1,705 1,639 1,533 57.2 56.6 57.9 59.5 59.4 60.5 58.2 57.8 58.0 60.0 59.6 59.6 59.5 59.4 60.8 61.3 63.0 63.8 63.3 63.9 Percent men's earnings exceeded women' s (5) 74.8 76.6 72.8 68.0 68.4 65.3 72.0 73.1 72.4 66.8 67.9 67.9 73.4 68.4 64.5 63.1 58.8 56.7 58.0 56.4 Earnings gap i n constant 1967 d o l l a r s (6) $3,433 3,649 3,435 3,136 3,133 2,961 3,079 3,032 2,958 2,700 2,696 2,637 2,790 2,559 2,394 2,308 2,108 2,023 2,014 1,911 For 1967-1974, data include wage and salary income and earnings from self-employment; f o r 1956-66, data include wage and salary income only. Column 3 - coltmin Column 4 = column Column 5 = column Column 6 = column (1967 = $1.00). 2 1 2 3 minus column 1. divided by column 2. minus column 1, divided by coltmin 1. times the purchasing power of the consumer d o l l a r Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: ''Money Income of Families and Persons i n the United States," Current Population Reports, 1957 to 1975. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor S t a t i s t i c s : Handbook of Labor S t a t i s t i c s . 1975. - 6 - Table 2.--Earnings D i s t r i b u t i o n of Year-Round Full-Time Workers, by Sex, 1974 (Persons 14 years of age and over) Number (In thousands) Men Women (2) (1) Earnings group Distribution Women Men (4) (3) Likelihood of a woman rather than a man to be i n each earnings group (5) Women as percent of a l l earners (6) Number and distribution 17,977 38,898 100.0 100.0 1.0 31.6 Less than $3,000 $3,000 to $4,999 $5,000 to $6,999 $7,000 to $9,999 $10,000 to $14,999 $15,000 and over 1,510 3,164 4,854 5,177 2,643 629 1,789 1,828 3,501 7,546 12,953 11,242 8.4 17.6 27.0 28.8 14.7 3.5 4.6 4.7 9.0 19.4 33.3 28.9 1.8 3.7 3.0 1.5 .4 .1 45.8 63.4 58.1 40.7 16.9 5.3 Cumulative distribution Women Men (7) (8) Notes: 8.4 26.0 53.0 81.8 96.5 100.0 4.6 9.3 18.3 37.7 71.0 100.0 I n d i v i d u a l items may not add to t o t a l s because of rounding. Colunin 5 = column 3 divided by column 4. Column 6 = column 1 divided by the sums of columns 1 and 2, times 100. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: Reports, P-60, No. 101. - 7 - Current Population Table 3 . — T o t a l Money Earnings of C i v i l i a n Year-Round Full-Time Workers, by Occupation Group and Sex, 1974 (Persons 14 years of age and over) Occupation group Total P r o f e s s i o n a l , technical, and kindred workers Managers and administrators Sales workers, t o t a l R e t a i l trade Other sales workers C l e r i c a l workers C r a f t and kindred workers Operatives (including transport) Service workers (except private household) Farmers and farm managers Farm laborers and supervisors Nonfarm laborers P r i v a t e household workers 1/ Percent men's earnings exceeded women's Women Men Dollar gap Women's earnings as a percent of men's $6,772 $11,835 $5,063 57.2 74.8 9,570 8,603 5,168 4,734 8,452 6,827 6,492 5,766 14,873 15,425 12,523 9,125 13,983 11,514 12,028 10,176 5,303 6,822 7,355 4,391 5,531 4,687 5,536 4,410 64.3 55.8 41.3 51.9 60.4 59.3 54.0 56.7 55.4 79.3 142.3 92.8 65.4 68.7 85.3 76.5 5,046 8,638 5,459 5,097 8,145 (1/) 3,592 58.4 71.2 a/) (1/) 5,891 2,676 — — - - — — — 2,254 - - 72.3 - - 38.3 - - Base less than 75,000. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor S t a t i s t i c s : t i o n Reports, P-60, No. 101. - 8 - Current Popula- Table 4.—Median Salaries of Full-Time Employed C i v i l i a n S c i e n t i s t s , by Sex and F i e l d , 1970 Median salary Women Men Field A l l fields Chemistry Earth and marine sciences Atmospheric and space sciences Physics Mathematics Computer sciences A g r i c u l t u r a l sciences B i o l o g i c a l sciences Psychology Statistics Economics Sociology Anthropology P o l i t i c a l sciences Linguistics Source: $11 ,600 10 ,500 10 ,500 13 ,000 12 ,000 10 ,000 13 ,200 9 ,400 11 ,000 13 ,000 14 ,000 13 ,400 11 ,000 12 ,300 11 ,000 11 ,300 National Science Foundation, - 9 - $15 ,200 15 ,600 15 ,000 15 ,200 16 ,000 15 ,000 16 ,900 12 ,800 15 ,500 15 ,500 17 ,100 16 ,500 13 ,500 15 ,000 13 ,500 13 ,000 Percent men's salary exceeded women' s 31.0 48.6 42.9 16.9 33.3 50.0 28.0 36.2 40.9 19.2 22.1 23.1 22.7 22.0 22.7 15.0 Table 5,—Comparison of Median Income of Year-Round Full-Time Workers, by Educational Attainment and Sex, 1974 (Persons 25 years of age and over) Years of school completed Elementary school Less than 8 years 8 years High school 1 to 3 years 4 years College 1 to 3 years 4 years 5 years or more Notes: Median income Women Men (2) (1) Income gap i n dollars (3) Women' s income as a percent of men's (4) Percent men's income exceeded women's (5) $5,022 5,606 $7,912 9,891 $2,890 4,285 63.5 56.7 57.5 76.4 $584 $1,979 5,919 7,150 11,225 12,642 5,306 5,492 52.7 56.6 89.6 76.8 313 1,231 1,334 1,417 8,072 9,523 11,790 13,718 16,240 18,214 5,646 6,717 6,424 58.8 58.6 64.7 69.9 70.5 54.5 922 1,451 2,267 1,076 2,522 1,974 Column 3 - column Column 4 = column Column 5 = column Columns 6 and 7 = years of school — — 2 minus column 1, 1 divided by column 2. 2 minus column 1, divided by column 1. absolute (median) d o l l a r d i f f e r e n c e between successive completed. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: Reports, P-60, No. 101. Marginal dollar value of increased educational attainment Men Women (7) (6) - 10 - Current Population Table 6.—Average Monthly Starting Salaries for June 1975 College Graduates, by Sex and Selected F i e l d Field Women Accounting Engineering Liberal arts Marketing-retailing General business Science Data processing-math $986 1,075 784 814 840 950 885 Field Men Accounting Engineering L i b e r a l arts Sales-marketing Business administration Chemistry Math-statistics $990 1,062 776 862 814 992 915 Source: Endicott, Frank S., "Trends i n Employment of College and University Graduates i n Business and Industry, 1975," 29th Annual Report, Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y , 1974. Table 7.—Weekly Earnings of Overtime Workers Receiving Premium Pay, by Sex, May 1975 (Numbers i n thousands) Total Percent distribution Number Earnings Women Percent distribution Number Men Percent distribution Number Total Median earnings Less $100 $150 $200 $300 $400 5,090 $198 100.0 1,020 $138 100.0 4,070 $215 100.0 than $100 to $149 to $199 to $299 to $399 or more 352 1,010 1,221 1,769 513 225 6.9 19.8 24.0 34.8 10.1 4.4 222 363 255 157 19 4 21.8 35.6 25.0 15.4 1.9 .3 130 647 966 1,611 494 221 3.2 15.9 23.7 39.6 12.1 5.4 Source: Bureau o f L a b o r S t a t i s t i c s : - 11 - Unpublished data. Table 8.--Median Wage or Salary Income of Year-Round Full-Time Workers, by Race and Sex, 1974 (Persons 14 years of age and over) Percent men's earnings exceeded women's Women Race Total Minority White Men Dollar gap Women' s earnings as a percent of men's $6,967 $12,072 $5,105 57.7 73.3 6,611 7,025 9,082 12,343 2,471 5,318 72.8 56.9 37.4 75.7 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: "Money Income i n 1974 of Families and Persons i n the United States," 1976, October 1976 (revised) - 12 -