Single in the City Means Top Dollar for Women

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A few months ago, Forbes published a list of the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S. — and a woman didn’t appear on the list until No. 48. While stats like this hint that women are still not as highly revered in the work force as their male counterparts, women are making swift strides towards the top of the working world – at least when it comes to pay.

According to a recent study conducted over a year by Reach Advisors, a New York-based research firm, single, childless women under 30, who live in metropolitan areas, earn an average of 8 percent more than their male peers. While “20-something, single, childless, urban-dwelling female” may seem like a pretty narrow category, the study marks an important point in the history of women in the  work force.

For the first time on record, there is a nationwide trend of women outearning men, with women pulling in higher wages in 147 of the nation’s 150 largest metropolitan areas. In 2007, a study reported a similar trend, but it was primarily concentrated in major U.S. cities.

According to the Reach Advisors study, the wage gap is greatest in these 10 metropolitan areas:

(Hint: Click on each metropolitan area to find job openings in that area)

  1. Atlanta
  2. Memphis/Ark./Mo.
  3. New York City- Northeastern N.J.
  4. Sacramento, Calif.
  5. San Diego
  6. Miami-Hialeah, Fla.
  7. Charlotte-Gastonia- Rock Hill, N.C./S.C.
  8. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
  9. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
  10. Phoenix

So what is it about this young, unattached, cosmopolitan demographic that creates such a perfect progressive storm, especially considering that women in the U.S. still earn only 80 percent of what men do?

The study cites the following reasons:

  • In general, women are pursuing education at a greater level than men. According to the study, for every two men who graduate from college, three women do.
  • Women with higher levels of education tend to marry later in life, meaning that highly educated – and higher-earning – women are more likely to be single in their 20s.
  • Black and Hispanic women are twice as likely as minority men to finish college. Metropolitan areas are more diverse than suburban and rural areas.
  • Many cities have knowledge-based economies, in which not having a college degree is a barrier to entry, and also have higher concentrations of corporate headquarters — both of which provide more opportunities for well-educated women.
  • So-called “blue collar” jobs like manufacturing, which have typically been male-dominated, have been hard hit by the recession.

While this is great news for young women, there is still work to be done when it comes to equality in the  work force. For example, check out TheWorkBuzz’s list of “25 Best-Paying Jobs for Women.”  Men outearn women in almost every job listed.  The same post also points out that only 3 percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are  women.

But, hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Plus — especially in this economy — any progress is good progress. So what do you think about this inverted gender gap? Let us know in the comments  section.

12 Comments
  1. Great post! :) Very important information for all women in the workforce. Am not surprised some women are marrying late (sometimes not at all). I wonder if there are any factors influencing that decision, however…like if they come from families where the parents are divorced? Would be interesting to know…

    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter for questions, comments or violent reactions)

    • What about the young woman who has worked hard and has gained house,stature and a great life style. Along comes a male who maybe has not worked as hard for what he has or he has less than she. She doesn’t want to share or has been burned before when sharing? It may be a better relationship if they don’t marry, and believe the only reason for getting married is for children. She is now 40 and quite over marriage and very comfortable and secure.

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  5. Although it may sound very ridiculous, arranging the educational/training system in a way (sth like the A/O levels, but not exactly) that school years get over as fast as possible with approx 6 months per present grade/standard (eg, by puberty, viz, around 9-12 years old), followed by community-supportive-supported work-study-marriage, followed by essential higher-working-functionality-basis initial collegiate years finish off by 15-19 years old alongwith the simultaneous processes of maturity-responsibility-enduring, multi-tasking, family-building, young-age-RIGHT-multiple-socializing, NET IN-TOTO PRODUCTIVITY BETTER THAN IF OTHERWISE. MANY INTELLECTUALS PROBABLY WILL AGREE. OTHERS DRIVEN BY INDUCED POPULAR BIAS MAY NEVER EVEN BOTHER.

  6. The Article FAILS to mention that using the fact that an individual (both men and women) has caregiver responsibilities (whether to aging parents or children) as reason NOT to hire that individual or as a reason to give that individual any sort of negative employment harm in general (less pay etc) is ILLEGAL under Federal Law. This sort of employment harm is a new aspect of the old sex discrimination law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – it is called “care giver responsibility discrimination”.
    Number one – it is 100% illegal for a furture employer to ask you if you have a family, children etc during a pre-employment interview.
    Number two if you feel that this is employment discrimination you have been subjected to contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and dicuss the matter with an investigator and see if you are eligible to file a charge of discrimination.
    Not all harm is illegal – general unfairness does not necessiarly rise to illegal under the law, but generally its a good thing to dicuss your matter further with an EEOC investigator just for clarification.

    Case in point – you have two men/women – one with higher qualifications but has caregiver responsiblities is denied the job (or given less pay) and an individual with less qualifications but no caregiver responsibilites is given the job(or higher pay)and everything else being equal, then this is a textbook case of employment discrimination that is illegal under Federal Law.

  7. It is so weird that when a study comes out showing women make more money than men, it is treated with such reverence and celebration; yet, if a study shows men outearn women, their is public outcry, laws need to be passed and studies need to be done to show the apparent gender bias.

    What we are talking about is equality, right? But what equality? Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? Equality of opportunity says everyone has the same shot at a job. Then it’s up to the individual to decide to take it or not. We ARE there. But equality of outcome is an inconsequential stat that is used to rial up a particular group and make them feel like victims and that only by achieving what they are “fighting” against are they successful.

    So, unless women everywhere make more than men, our society believes we need “special” laws to even it out. But what happens when that is achieved, and when women everywhere make more than men? You actually have a society that approves of gender-bias…as long as it only goes one way. Wake up people…if you did a study of all incomes and segmented it by blonde or brunette, you’d probably find a horrible trend that would require new laws to be passed.

    The Consad Report on Gender Wage Gap proved that it was an illusion. Men and women working the same job, with the same experience and education make the same amount. So as we over-educate women, at the expense of men, through special grants and programs, we are only increasing a publicly-accepted gender bias…the EXACT thing we pretend to want to correct by making special, gender-based laws. It is a political and special interest cash cow, and who it will affect will be your sons and grandsons. Your daughters and grandaughters wil be set, though.

    • “So as we over-educate women, at the expense of men,”

      Just a quick note of explanation as I re-read the post…by over-educate, it is meant to say force the number of women in college to be higher than the number of men through policy based on biased data..it is NOT meant to be construed that it is possible for ANYONE, regardless of gender to have too much knowledge. I wanted to make that point clear as I am a FIRM believer in education for ALL people. I would only hope that the OPPORTUNITY to become educated is not driven by special interest where one group of people are given a BETTER chance by our laws or social system because of their race, gender or religion.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with “ExtremelyStrange”‘s and men and boys have to step up if we men/ boys are going to make our own way in the next 2+ generations and beyond:

    Talk about a gender bias against men/ boys coming from the American government and corporate America!!! It’s sickening.

    Men/ boys are a MINORITY in this country making up between 48-49% of the US population.

     Men die, on average, 5-7 years sooner than women yet it’s women’s health that gets nearly all the media attention, ad nauseum.

     Men and boys are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women/ girls.

     3 of 4 murder victims are men/ boys. Where’s the PR/ outrage?

     3 in 4 high school dropouts are young men. Where’s the PR/ outrage?

     Men make up better than 93% of the U.S prison population

     Men are the minority on college campuses across the country (45%)

     Men work the most dangerous/ deadly jobs.

     Men pay more for both health and auto insurance than do women.

     Men work more hours and more ‘overtime’ than do women (thus we can dismiss ‘pay inequity’ theories here)

     Men make up better than 98% of the KIA and wounded casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Federal mandate requires that ‘men only’ register for the draft.

     When was the last time there were national, corporate sponsored ‘walks’ for prostate cancer awareness or other men’s health issues and benefit walks?

     When was the last time a talented young man was awarded a $30,000 scholarship on national television year after corporate-sponsored year (Miss America pageant et. al. running 40 years-plus)?

     When was the last time a national brand (Dove soap) began a program meant to help boys and raise their self-esteem as they’ve done apparently for girls (at the exclusion of boys)?

     When was the last time men and boys were included as potential ‘victims’ in reports of date rape and other issues of domestic violence as conveyed by women’s groups and girl-focused organizations?

     Look at the mission statements of your ‘family friendly’ focused YMCA and compare it to the exclusively female YWCA’s. The YM is inclusive of all.

    I’m all for healthy, well educated and well adjusted women and girls but not at the expense and flagrant exclusion of men and boys. I’m also for fair and unbiased legislation.

    How about some balance?! Repeat after me and then pass it on:

    “The men (and boys) are not expendable! Men (and boys) are people too!”

    End the gender bias and discrimination across the board, including the Draft Board!

    Equal opportunity demands equal responsibility!

    • Are you seriously going to act like there is no bias on men’s clubs, yes dear they are still out there! As for men being left out, that is a joke, if you looked at the funding that goes into gender specific health issues you would know that Males diseases are out-funded incomparison to Woman’s. Let’s don’t forget that healthcare insurance is higher for women as well!

      What really bothers me about this article is it doesn’t tell you that if a man and woman with the same education credentials were going for the same job and she were married or single with a child – who would have gotten the job and would the pay have been equal?

      Being a single woman in a management position – I can say without doubt that we are not treated equally. Our counterparts still get raises over us and are not fired equally as well. I have heard more ignorant comments from Upper Management than I care to address, but rest assured they do not look at men and women equally!

  9. Women should be more outraged than men at this article. what this is saying is that there is a de facto conflict of interest between carreer and family, and that the “superwoman” who can have it all is not only a myth in theory, but also in practice. Why does it seem like any feminist advance has some backlash associated with it? Reproductive rights seemed to pave the way for gross objectification in television and entertainment. Equal pay seemed to pave the way for the childless professional woman. Does society sabotage these advances? do women? do men?

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