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Wage equality amongst men and women in the workforce is a hotbed of debate in the 21st century. While there are some who would insist that women have gained an equal footing in the manufacturing industry of today, the hard statistics simply don’t back up such claims. In fact, men and women who are currently in manufacturing positions report a wage gap of 72 percent for the same roles and responsibilities.

According to recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women, on average, earn just over 82 percent of the income made by men in similar positions and ranks. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ figures see the pay gap widening with age. According to their numbers, women between the ages of 16 and 24 typically earn 92 percent of what men of the same age make, while women between 25 and 54 make only 81 percent of similarly aged males.

This isn’t to say that women’s wages haven’t improved at all, however. In fact, the education sector typically sees women as its top earners. When comparing these average weekly wages between 1979 and 2013, and after adjusting for economic inflation, women are now earning more than men. Women who have an associate or bachelor’s degree are seeing the highest increase in wages within the education sector.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the pay gap between men and women in manufacturing today. There have been a plethora of explanations offered by professionals from nearly every industry, and such explanations range from scientific formulations to theories and, in some cases, downright deception.

While the exact cause of today’s pay gap has yet to be agreed upon, it is clear that some industries see wider wage gaps than others. The highest wage gap, for example, can be seen in the real estate industry. With men reporting median weekly wages of just under $1,000 and women reporting less than $750, the real estate industry currently boasts a men-woman wage gap of 73.3 percent. This is the highest out of any industry today.

On the other hand, men and women in the personal finance sector report a much slimmer wage gap of 61.3 percent. While this is still relatively high, it pales in comparison to the discrepancies seen in real estate. Male personal financial advisors currently report a median weekly wage of $1,637, while female personal financial advisors report median weekly wages of $1,004.

There are a number of other industries with similar wage gaps. Physicians and surgeons, for example, report a wage gap of 62.2 percent between the wages of men and women, while those in securities and commodities report a wage gap of 65.1 percent. Financial managers typically experience a 67.4 percent wage gap between male and female employees, and those in general sales positions report a wage gap of 70 percent.

Despite the fact that the wage gaps between men and women in the workplace are shrinking, there is still a long way to go before we see genuine wage equality. While a timeline for achieving this has yet to be determined, it’s safe to say that women are definitely making progress in their fight to receive equal pay in the 21st century.

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