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Women Are Underrepresented In The Highest Paying Occupations

There’s more to the gender pay gap than is immediately obvious. It’s true that women earn about 76 cents for every dollar a man makes, on average, but that statistic doesn’t paint a complete picture of the problem.
female surgeon
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Yes, women are often paid less than men in any given field, or even within a specific job title or institution (take a look at academia, for example). But, another part of the problem is that women are also less represented in higher-level roles. Men are 85 percent more likely to be VPs or C-suite execs by mid-career than women, for example. Additionally, women are also underrepresented in the highest paying occupations. There are many complex reasons for this opportunity gap.

Men are 85 percent more likely to be VPs or C-suite execs by mid-career than women.Click To Tweet

“Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager – so far fewer end up on the path to leadership – and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions,” declared the Women in the Workplace report from 2016. “Women also get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see.”

Now, a new report from LinkedIn, which utilized LinkedIn salary and jobs data, examines how women are represented in the 20 highest paying occupations. Let’s take a closer look at the five highest paying jobs from the list.

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1. Orthopedic Surgeon. Women in role – 7 percent.

The highest paying occupation in the U.S. right now is orthopedic surgeon. Women make up a mere 7 percent of the field, despite the fact that women have been graduating from medical school at about the same rate as men for some time now.

2. Chief Revenue Officer. Women in role – 19 percent.

Chief revenue officers are responsible for overseeing financial operations. They engage in contract negotiations, monitor product development, oversee budgeting, etc. The fact that women are so underrepresented in this leadership role suggests that the opportunity gap is a factor at many companies.

3. Chief Risk Officer. Women in role – 27 percent.

Like the other jobs mentioned on this list, chief risk officers have a tremendous amount of responsibility. They’re in charge of ensuring that regulations and policies are adhered to, while also keeping profits in mind. According to this report, 27 percent of CROs are women. Among the top five high-earning professions, women are the most represented in this one. However, men still vastly outnumber women in the role.

4. Cardiologist. Women in role – 21 percent.

Only 21 percent of cardiologists are women — better than the stats for orthopedic surgeons, but typically imbalanced for high-paying medical roles. Healthcare is a booming sector that continued growing even during the slow recovery from the Great Recession, but obviously some jobs pay more than others. Those high-paying jobs tend be dominated by men, while the lower-paying jobs tend be dominated by women. For example, women dominate the profession of nursing. The median pay for a nurse is $28.47 an hour, according to PayScale’s data, whereas a cardiologist earns a median salary of $225,656 a year.

5. Tax Partner. Women in role – 25 percent.

Although women are better represented in this field than they used to be — that’s true, of course, for all of these professions — they’re still outnumbered by men at the partner level. It’s another example of how the opportunity gap plays into lower earnings for women compared to men.

Check out the full report from LinkedIn to learn about the other top-paying occupations on the list and how women are represented in those roles.

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Why do you think women are so underrepresented in high-paying jobs? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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