Wage Gap and Gender Participation by Industry: Where are Women Most In Demand?

Female representation in the workforce matters, and thinking you’ll be the “only” woman in an industry can feel challenging. Lets flip the table with the power of poker.

Picture this: an accountant, a loan officer, a statistician, an author, and a pharmacist seated around a table. Did you see a group of women? Because, if this was in real life, you would. The majority of people in those occupations are women.

Representation in the workforce matters. And thinking you’ll be the “only” in an industry can feel challenging at best or unwelcoming at the least.

For women to flip the table, we need to know who’s sitting at it. And why.

So here’s what we know.

Where women rule today

Per recent data from the Boston Globe, women hold the vast majority of positions as

  • Speech-Language Pathologists: 97.5% women

  • Nurses: 94.6% women

  • Assistant positions: Dental 93.3% women, Medical 92.9% women, Legal 86.7% women

  • Nutritionists: 89.4% women

  • Librarians: 83.8% women

  • Loan Interviewers: 79% women

  • Human Resources Workers: 74.6% women

These jobs have high educational requirements but modest salaries (though some HR Managers can make upwards of $150,000/year.) Cultural pressures to take a path well traveled may partially explain why women are both more educated and lower paid than men; women may gravitate to positions they see role models hold.

Notably, however, many of these positions come with high job satisfaction. This could be due to the nature of the work, or because a workplace full of women is supportive and enjoyable.

Examining the STEM gap

Some of the jobs held by men at the highest frequency include

  • Mechanical Engineers: 93.6% men

  • Computer Programmers: 77.4% men

  • All Computer and Mathematical Occupations: 74.5% men

  • General or Operations Manager: 70.2% men

  • Environmental Scientists: 70% men

  • Personal Financial Advisors: 68.4% men

  • Lawyers: 64.3% men

  • Physicians and Surgeons: 61.8% men

The jobs on this list generally fall under the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) designation. Men also hold the majority of positions where physical labor is involved, such as Pipelayers (98.6% male,) Brickmasons (99.5% male) or Roofers (98.3% male.)

Countless studies have been conducted to explain the STEM gap, but a universal takeaway is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy: girls don’t go into STEM because women haven’t gone into STEM.

Turning the tide

If any of the male-dominated careers are of interest to you, don’t be discouraged by these statistics. Many firms and academic programs want to get more women in these fields. Involving more women brings a unique set of perspectives and skills which increases productivity and equality.

Let’s say you’re interested in pursuing a business degree with the goal of becoming a CEO. Look at the gender breakdown of the current classes at each school you’re interested in. Schools with the fewest women will be most willing to admit you with merit scholarships to forge a more balanced class.

Likewise, you can search for companies that have publicized an interest in recruiting more women. Companies like Docusign, Facebook, Fidelity, Visa, Pfizer and Nestle have all recently generated good press for their commitments to the women they employ. Everything from equal pay to career mentorship programs to generous maternity leave signals that these companies value attracting and retaining women.

All trends point to progressive momentum of workplace diversity with unconscious bias training becoming a standard in many industries. However, the speed with which change is made will differ from company to company. For a consolidated list of forward-thinking companies, check out Georgene Huang’s article in Forbes.

Where the Wage Gap is Least and Greatest: Unbeknownst to many, the wage gap is not the same across all industries and functions. In truth, it’s not even similar. Here are a few areas of the workforce where the wage gap is smallest.

  • Licensed nurses: Wage gap of .37%

  • Counselors: Wage gap of .78%

  • Advertising Sales Agents: Wage gap of 1.45%

  • Physical Therapists: Wage gap of 3.28%

  • Social Workers: Wage gap of 3.74%

Here is where the wage gap is largest:

  • Financial Advisors: Wage gap of 41.1%

  • EMTs and Paramedics: Wage gap of 34.5%

  • Real Estate Brokers: Wage gap of 29.42%

  • Marketing and Sales Managers: Wage gap of 29%

  • Surgeons: Wage gap of 29%

  • Chief Executives: Wage gap of 25%

While your first reaction to these deflating numbers may be to assume that you’ll earn 70% of the “sticker wage” in one of these large-gap fields, Poker Power can equip you with the tools to prove your worth and negotiate your salary. Through the game of poker we’re teaching women analytical thought, strategic risk-taking, and leadership skills to build confidence and open doors. When women win, everyone wins.

Discover the power of poker here and take your seat at the table.

Poker Power is for educational purposes and does not permit gambling in our clubs. No poker experience is required.

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