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)
- New York City- Northeastern N.J.
- Sacramento, Calif.
- San Diego
- Miami-Hialeah, Fla.
- Charlotte-Gastonia- Rock Hill, N.C./S.C.
- Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
- Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
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.