What is the gender pay gap?
The gender pay gap measures the difference in pay between men and women and reflects how society values the work of women less than the work of men. The gender pay gap is based on data science and studied by multiple accredited institutions working on independent data sets. The gap between what women and men are paid persists year over year, indicating that the reasons for the gender pay gap are systemic.
In observance of Equal Pay Day (March 14, 2023), Payscale has updated our annual Gender Pay Gap Report (GPGR).
Although the uncontrolled gender pay gap has closed by one cent in 2023, there remains a disparity in how men and women are paid. The presence of the uncontrolled gender pay gap tells us the distribution of high-earning prestigious jobs in society favors men, while the presence of the controlled gender pay gap tells us that women are still being paid less than men when doing the same jobs. As our data will show, the gap is wider for women of color, for women at higher job levels, and for women in certain occupations and industries. However, our data will also show that the gender pay gap is starting to close in some sectors and locations, which could be expedited by pay transparency legislation.
The gender pay gap in 2023
Since we have started tracking the gender pay gap, the difference between the earnings of women and men has shrunk, but only by an infinitesimal amount each year. In 2023, for every $1 that men make, women earn $0.83 when data are uncontrolled. This is one cent nearer to closing the gender pay gap compared to last year.
The controlled gender pay gap is $0.99 for every $1 men make, which is still not equal. The controlled pay gap tells us what women earn compared to men when all compensable factors are accounted for — such as job title, education, experience, industry, job level, and hours worked. Although $0.99 cents may seem very close to $1, small differences in earnings on the dollar can compound over the course of a lifetime career. The gender pay gap should be zero. It is not zero.
In other words, women who are doing the same job as a man, with the exact same qualifications as a man, are still paid less than men for no attributable reason, year over year. There is not equal pay for equal work.
In 2020, it was feared that the gender pay gap might widen again as the COVID-19 recession was harder on women due to disproportionately higher unemployment rates among women. As we will demonstrate, unemployment has been shown to lower job offers and increase the gender pay gap. However, strong wage growth, employee leverage, and unemployment returning to normal levels seem to have prevented these fears from manifesting.
In fact, during the Great Resignation, women also had higher quits rates than men. What this means is that women have had an opportunity to go after higher-paying jobs due to a job market that has highly favored employees. The strange dynamics of the labor market could mean that women are reemployed at higher pay.
In addition, pay transparency has been shown to close the gender pay gap. Although it’s too early to show in the data quite yet, with pay transparency legislation on the rise, the gender pay gap may start to close more quickly.
The gender pay gap is closing over time, but at glacial speed
Understanding the controlled and uncontrolled gap
The gender pay gap can be calculated in two ways. The controlled gap measures “equal pay for equal work,” meaning how women are paid compared to men in the same job. The uncontrolled gender pay gap measures how women are paid compared to men holistically.
Both the uncontrolled and controlled gap are important for understanding how society values women. The uncontrolled gap, sometimes called the opportunity gap, is an indication of what types of jobs — and associated earnings — are occupied by women overall versus men overall. This in turn is an indicator of how wealth and power are gendered and that women’s roles are often less valued within our society.
Occupational segregation based on gender norms is one driver of the overall pay differences between men and women. Unconscious bias informs what types of careers are “suitable” for women versus men, which are indoctrinated at a young age, as well as which types of jobs are worth more. For example, women are more likely to be in positions of service, education, healthcare support, and other fields associated with “nurturing,” while men are more likely to be in positions of problem solving and wealth management. Women face wider pay gaps in male-dominated occupations and industries. In addition, as more women enter occupational fields traditionally dominated by men, the pay for positions in those fields drops.
Men and women choosing different careers doesn’t mean that the uncontrolled gender pay gap is less meaningful than the controlled gender pay gap. The uncontrolled gender pay gap reveals the overall economic power disparity between men and women in society. Even if the controlled gender pay gap disappeared — meaning women and men with the same job title and qualifications were paid equally — the uncontrolled gap would demonstrate that sexism against women still exists, as higher-paying positions are still disproportionately accessible to men compared to women.
Women of color often face increased barriers in opportunity as gender and racial biases can intermix to create obstacles to hiring, pay raises, referrals, promotions, and leadership. In addition, due to the social expectations placed upon women to be mothers and caretakers, women often step out of the workforce and are penalized when they return to their careers. The overall differences in women’s and men’s pay and career outcomes go beyond gender preferences and can only be explained holistically through gender and racial bias.
Impact on lifetime earnings
To further illustrate the impact of the gender pay gap, Payscale calculated the lifetime earnings that women make on average compared to men over the course of a career.
Lifetime earnings is the sum of median base pay from each year over the span of 40 years, assuming that it increases annually by 3 percent — which is the standard increase given by most employers. Note, however, that annual pay increases have been higher on average in recent years.
Over a 40-year career where wage growth is assumed to be 3 percent annually, lifetime earnings come to $5.2M for the average male worker and $5.14M for the average female worker when all compensable factors are controlled for. The difference amounts to roughly $70K for no attributable reason other than gender. This estimate does not account for lost benefits, investments, promotions, or other compounding factors on lifetime wealth.
Over a 40-year career where wage growth is assumed to be 3 percent annually, lifetime earnings come to $5.2M for the average male worker and $4.3M for the average female worker when compensable factors are uncontrolled. The difference amounts to roughly $900K as a result of gendered opportunity barriers to holding higher-level, higher-paying jobs. This estimate does not account for lost benefits, investments, promotions, or other compounding factors on lifetime wealth.
Jobs with the widest pay gaps
Lost earnings is further evident when looking at specific jobs
To illustrate the impact of the gender pay gap in concrete terms, Payscale looked at the top 20 jobs* with the largest gender pay gaps. The following list shows the gender pay gap when all compensable factors are controlled, meaning that women in these positions have the same qualifications as men in the same positions. These jobs show a gender pay gap wider than the median $0.99 for the controlled group overall.
Some of the positions with the highest pay gaps fall into occupations that are traditionally dominated by men or are subject to strong gender norms. However, there are also job titles here that do not clearly align to skills and responsibilities perceived culturally as more masculine or more feminine.
Again, it is important to understand that gender pay gap research and analysis illuminates the bias that men are more suited to work and more deserving of higher pay than women — even when doing the same job. Although the data show the problem in aggregate, it is illegal when it happens at a specific organization unless they can explain the discrepancies.
*See ONET for descriptions of jobs, also in this report’s methodology
What causes the gender pay gap?
Analysis indicates that the causes of the gender pay gap are systemic, meaning they stem from perceptions — conscious or unconscious — that people have about the value of women’s work versus men’s work and the types of work that women are suited for. These perceptions lead to women being funneled into lower-paying positions, often on the presumption that women do not have to work or that the work they do should relate to childcare, homemaking, and nurturing, which are valued less. Historically, dominant opinions about women and their place in society guided how women’s work was valued rather than the other way around. The pervasiveness of gender bias impacts women’s choices as well as their opportunities, which is illuminated by gender pay gap research.
Interestingly, work designated as “women’s work” is perceived as less valuable only until men enter those occupations. For example, women were the original “computers,” but computing positions earned low wages until men entered the field. Conversely, when women enter fields previously dominated by men, the pay drops, which has happened with parks and recreation and interior design as well as other occupations.
The motherhood penalty
Women who are parents experience a larger pay gap
Our analysis shows that women who return to the labor market after having children incur a wage penalty. In our online salary survey, we asked respondents to identify if they were a parent and leveraged this sample to analyze pay gaps amongst men and women with or without children. The wider gap amongst women with children compared to those without children is called “the motherhood penalty” or “childbearing penalty.” When women indicated they were a parent or primary caregiver, we observed an uncontrolled pay gap of $0.75 for every dollar earned by a male parent, which is a one cent increase from last year. When we hold all else equal, mothers earn $0.98 for every dollar earned by fathers with the same employment characteristics.
Conversely, the gender pay gap shrinks considerably between men and women who are not parents. The uncontrolled pay gap decreases to $0.88 on the dollar, suggesting women without children face fewer social barriers in climbing the corporate ladder or securing demanding, higher-paying jobs (despite mothers being just as capable). When we control gender pay gap analysis for job characteristics, we observe pay parity in our sample. Earnings of women without children keep pace with earnings of men without children. This supports research that suggests that having a child is the primary or true cause of gender pay disparities.
There are a range of disadvantages that impact wage progression for mothers. Research shows women’s income decreases because they reduce their working hours to balance childcaring responsibilities more than men. Women also face biases around parenthood, such as the notion that working mothers are less committed to their jobs, which can inhibit career progression. Meanwhile, men are sometimes paid more after having children.
As we detail below, the opportunity gap widens as women progress through their careers – with 60 percent of women over the age of 45 occupying individual contributor roles compared to 45 percent of men in the same age group. Likewise, we measured just 4 percent of women in executive positions compared to 8 percent of men. Since the uncontrolled gender pay gap shrinks amongst women without children, we can point to motherhood as a powerful variable in career progression for women.
The unemployment penalty
The longer people are unemployed, the lower their wages when they return to work — a gap which is wider for women
The unemployment penalty illustrates the percentage difference in pay experienced by an individual (regardless of gender) who is currently employed compared to one who is unemployed at the time of the job offer, with all else being equal. We see that this penalty becomes more severe the longer the unemployment period continues. Economists refer to this phenomenon as “unemployment scarring,” given the body of evidence that shows interruptions to employment have both an immediate and sustained negative impact on earnings.
In our analysis of the unemployment penalty, we restrict the sample to those who were unemployed for reasons other than career development. Observations indicate that the unemployment penalty is generally more severe for women than it is for men. Among those who have been unemployed less than three months, the uncontrolled gender pay gap is $0.85 — but this widens to $0.79 when that period is more than 24 months. This suggests that women facing longer periods of unemployment have a harder time securing higher-paying, higher-level jobs than unemployed men do.
When asked about the primary reason for their unemployment in our online salary survey, 86 percent of those who reported that they were caring for a child were women – compared to just 14 percent for men. Women also reported caring for a family member other than a child at more than twice the rate of men. The gender pay gap, both controlled and uncontrolled, was widest for child caregivers compared to those with other reasons for unemployment.
There are differences between full-time workers and part-time workers too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women who work full time make up 44 percent of the labor force. However, this climbs to 64 percent for part-time workers who are not full-time due to non-economic reasons.
The gender pay gap by industry
The gender pay gap closes for some industries in 2023
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an agency of the Department of Labor (DoL), women are more heavily represented in industries such as healthcare (77 percent), education (69 percent), and nonprofits (66 percent), which – not coincidentally – are more aligned with gender stereotypes about women being best suited for jobs related to caregiving and nurturing.
The uncontrolled gender pay gap is widest in Finance & Insurance ($0.77) and Agencies & Consultancies ($0.84), both of which have a higher percentage of women than men (53 percent and 59 percent respectively) but where gender stereotypes that women aren’t well-suited for math or problem solving may work against them.
When controlling for compensable factors, Technology, Engineering & Science, Education, Real Estate, and Healthcare achieve pay equity, closing the gender pay gap. These are industries that are at least somewhat dominated by men, though not as much as Accommodation & Food Services, Retail & Customer Service, Energy & Utilities, and Transportation & Warehousing, where controlled gender gaps are wider.
The gender pay gap by occupation
The gender pay gap closes for some occupations in 2023
Occupation refers to a roll-up of jobs that are within a similar field, but which may not be the same as the industry to which an organization belongs. Women are most heavily represented in occupations that include Healthcare Support, Healthcare Practitioners & Technical, Education, Training, & Library, Personal Care Services, Office Administrative Support, and Community and Social Services. These occupations all align to gender stereotypes that women are best suited for care and service to others.
Payscale’s research shows women are paid less than men in every occupational group we examined when data are uncontrolled, with the widest uncontrolled gaps being in Legal ($0.61) and Education, Training, & Library ($0.77). The smallest uncontrolled gaps are in Healthcare Practitioners and Healthcare Support.
When data are controlled, the 2023 gender pay gap closes for occupations in Transportation & Material Moving, Building & Grounds Cleaning, & Maintenance, Education, Training, & Library, and Legal occupations. The occupations with the widest gender pay gaps when compensable factors are controlled include Farming, Fishing, & Forestry ($0.90), Construction & Extraction ($0.92), and Installation, Maintenance, & Repair ($0.94).
The gender pay gap by location
A few metro areas have managed to close the gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is wider in some locations than others. Metro locations with the largest uncontrolled gender pay gaps this year include St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detoit, and Kansas City. Metros with the largest controlled gaps include Austin, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.
This year, some metro areas have closed the uncontrolled gender pay gap. These include Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. Last year, our sample did not show a closed uncontrolled gender pay gap for any of these metros.
The number of metros that have closed the controlled gender pay gap in 2023 has increased over the last year. These include Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.
|Metropolitan Statistical Area||Uncontrolled Gender Pay Gap||Controlled Gender Pay Gap|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||$0.85||$0.98|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||$0.84||$0.97|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||$0.85||$0.99|
|Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||$0.85||$0.99|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||$0.77||$0.98|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||$1.01||$1.00|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||$0.95||$1.00|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||$0.95||$0.99|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||$0.90||$0.99|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||$0.99||$1.00|
|Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC||$0.85||$0.99|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||$1.00||$1.00|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||$0.97||$0.99|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$1.01||$1.00|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||$0.74||$0.97|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||$0.94||$1.00|
The gender pay gap by age
Women lose earning power as they age compared to men
Women start their careers earning less than men when data are uncontrolled, and the pay gap only widens as they age. Between the ages of 20 and 29, women earn $0.86 compared to every $1 that men earn. This is due to women being employed in jobs that do not pay as much compared to the jobs that men occupy. When controlled for job title and other compensable factors, women and men earn equal pay in the 20-29 age bracket. This is the same as last year.
However, the pay gap widens for women between the ages of 30 to 44, with women overall earning $0.82 compared to every $1 men earn when data are uncontrolled. When controlling for job title and other compensable factors, women earn $0.98, showing greater pay disparities. At age 45 and older, the gap widens further for the uncontrolled group, with women making only $0.74 compared to every $1 men make, which is one cent more than last year, but closes slightly for the controlled gender pay gap.
The gender pay gap by education
Women are paid less than men regardless of their education
Higher education does not lead to pay equity. The gender pay gap sees minimal or no improvement at higher educational attainment levels compared to a high school degree, which has a controlled pay gap of $0.98. While associate and bachelor’s degrees close the gender pay gap slightly at $0.99, MBAs see a wider controlled gender pay gap of $0.97 and doctorates see an even wider gap of $0.96.
The largest uncontrolled gap is for those with MBAs. Women with MBAs take home $0.77 for every dollar that men with MBAs take home, which is commensurate with last year. This may be indicative of women struggling to get jobs requiring — and compensating for — an MBA compared to men.
Women with law degrees see one of the smaller uncontrolled gender pay gaps at $0.86. In addition, the gender pay gap does close for women with law degrees when data are controlled. This is good news as pay disparities between men and women doing equal work is illegal and would be remarkable in the legal field. However, that there is still an uncontrolled gender pay gap shows that there is still work to be done to obtain equality for women with law degrees.
Race and the gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is wider for women of color
Race and gender intersect to result in wider pay gaps for women of color. For the uncontrolled gap, American Indian and Native Alaskan women (who make $0.72 to every $1 white men make) have the widest gaps. What this means is that American Indian and Native Alaskan women are more likely to occupy lower-paying jobs.
When data are controlled for compensable factors, women who are American Indian and Alaska Native, Black, or white do not achieve pay equity to men. This means that these women are most likely to be paid less despite having the same level of experience and other compensable factors as white men doing the same job.
Asian women consistently make comparably more than white men when data are controlled for compensable factors ($1.03 to every $1 white men make). This has been a propagator of the “model minority” stereotype that assumes Asians are smarter, better educated, or harder working than other people. The model minority myth is racist in concept and fails to acknowledge that Asians are a diverse population, with some Asian minorities experiencing wider pay gaps than the general Asian population.
Hispanic and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women saw the gender pay gap close this year when data are controlled for the jobs these women occupy, which should be encouraging, especially if the pattern continues in subsequent years.
The gender pay gap by job level
Women are paid less than men as they move up the corporate ladder
Payscale’s research shows that even when women make it to the top rungs, they make less than their male counterparts. Women are also underrepresented in leadership roles, which can reinforce stereotypes that women do not make good leaders. This is why diversity in leadership is important, alongside equity.
Women of every job level (individual contributors, managers, directors, and senior executives) make less than men of the comparative job level, but the gap widens as women progress up the corporate ladder. Women at the executive level make $0.95 to every dollar a man makes, even when the same job characteristics are controlled for. In the uncontrolled group, women executives make $0.72 to every dollar a male executive makes, which is one cent less than last year.
Women aren’t promoted as often or as quickly as men
Men are also disproportionally promoted faster and more often than women. Why? One reason is that women can be pushed into performing work that is “non-promotable” such as party planning, volunteering, or routine maintenance work that isn’t necessarily compensable or celebrated by the business. Women can also be consciously or unconsciously blocked from networking and the visibility necessary to be considered for promotions or discouraged from displaying personality traits like ambition or a strong opinion, vision, or purpose, which are often associated with leadership.
In other words, women are less likely to be promoted and paid equitably in leadership positions because of gender stereotypes. Women executives are more represented in industries such as nonprofits or educational institutions, which pay less than other industries. As previously covered, since it’s also often assumed that women will leave the workforce to have children, they can be viewed as less worthy to become leaders.
Women of color see wider pay gaps as they advance in their careers
We also looked at the intersection of job level and race and found that women of color are more likely to stagnate in their careers than white women. All women of color start out with controlled pay equity relative to white men at the individual contributor level, but as they progress up the corporate ladder, the gap widens. The gender pay gap is widest for Hispanic women at the executive level when data are controlled, currently standing at $0.91.
When data are uncontrolled, the difference across racial groups reflects the overall gender pay gap, with American Indian and Native Alaskan women suffering the widest gender pay gaps at $0.73 for every $1 white men make as individual contributors. Hispanic women suffer a dismal $0.65 for every $1 white men make as executives, and Black women make only $0.65 as well.
Women of color see the fewest opportunities for advancement
White men are more likely to be executives and directors than women of color. Sixty-six percent of Black or African American women and 66 percent of Hispanic women are individual contributors compared to 62 percent of white women and 59 percent of white men. This is unchanged since last year.
The opportunity gap offers a key insight into workplace racial bias for Asian professionals, who lag dramatically behind other groups in attaining leadership roles despite higher earnings in general. Asian women are most likely to be individual contributors at 73 percent. Although Asian women are closer to pay equity with white men than white women overall, only 2 percent of Asian women make it to the executive level.
Between January 2021 and January 2023, over 758K people in the U.S. took Payscale’s online salary survey, providing information about their industry, occupation, location and other compensable factors. They also reported demographic information, including age, gender, and race. We leveraged this sample to provide insights into the controlled and uncontrolled gender pay gap. To ensure a fair comparison, we convert hourly compensation to annual compensation where necessary and re-scale annual compensation to a 40-hour work week where necessary.
It should be noted that Payscale’s employee-sourced online salary survey data weights toward salaried professionals with college degrees. When analyzing by race, we restrict our sample to those with at least a bachelor’s degree. Our data isn’t as impacted by low-income hourly workers, so the data reported by Payscale might be dissimilar to what is reported by other institutions for the gender pay gap of the overall workforce.
Lifetime earnings is the sum of median pay over 40 years, where each year the median pay increases by 3 percent. This is because 3 percent has been found in previous research to be a standard annual increase in base pay by the majority of employers, although larger annual increases have been observed on average in recent years.
ONET job descriptions for top 20 jobs
Bartenders: Mix and serve drinks to patrons, directly or through waitstaff.
Waiter and Waitresses: Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.
Directors, Religions Activities and Education: Coordinate or design programs and conduct outreach to promote the religious education or activities of a denominational group. May provide counseling, guidance, and leadership relative to marital, health, financial, and religious problems.
Driver/Sales Workers: Drive truck or other vehicle over established routes or within an established territory and sell or deliver goods, such as food products, including restaurant take-out items, or pick up or deliver items such as commercial laundry. May also take orders, collect payment, or stock merchandise at point of delivery.
Credit Analysts: Analyze credit data and financial statements of individuals or firms to determine the degree of risk involved in extending credit or lending money. Prepare reports with credit information for use in decision making.
Database Administrators: Administer, test, and implement computer databases, applying knowledge of database management systems. Coordinate changes to computer databases. Identify, investigate, and resolve database performance issues, database capacity, and database scalability. May plan, coordinate, and implement security measures to safeguard computer databases.
Chemical Technicians: Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders: Operate or tend equipment to control chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products. Equipment used includes devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels.
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers: Inspect, test, sort, sample, or weigh nonagricultural raw materials or processed, machined, fabricated, or assembled parts or products for defects, wear, and deviations from specifications. May use precision measuring instruments and complex test equipment.
Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators: Review settled claims to determine that payments and settlements are made in accordance with company practices and procedures. Confer with legal counsel on claims requiring litigation. May also settle insurance claims.
Clergy: Conduct religious worship and perform other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination. Provide spiritual and moral guidance and assistance to members.
Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers: Plan and erect commercial displays, such as those in windows and interiors of retail stores and at trade exhibitions.
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers. Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of production and operating workers, such as inspectors, precision workers, machine setters and operators, assemblers, fabricators, and plant and system operators. Excludes team or work leaders.
Art Directors: Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual productions and media, such as print, broadcasting, video, and film. Direct workers engaged in artwork or layout design.
Interior Designers: Plan, design, and furnish the internal space of rooms or buildings. Design interior environments or create physical layouts that are practical, aesthetic, and conducive to the intended purposes. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers: Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological, agricultural, and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers: Landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment. Workers typically perform a variety of tasks, which may include any combination of the following: sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking, sprinkler installation, and installation of mortarless segmental concrete masonry wall units.
Team Assemblers: Work as part of a team having responsibility for assembling an entire product or component of a product. Team assemblers can perform all tasks conducted by the team in the assembly process and rotate through all or most of them, rather than being assigned to a specific task on a permanent basis. May participate in making management decisions affecting the work. Includes team leaders who work as part of the team.
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General: Perform work involving the skills of two or more maintenance or craft occupations to keep machines, mechanical equipment, or the structure of a building in repair. Duties may involve pipe fitting; HVAC maintenance; insulating; welding; machining; carpentry; repairing electrical or mechanical equipment; installing, aligning, and balancing new equipment; and repairing buildings, floors, or stairs.
Unemployment and parent status
We also ask respondents to the survey about their unemployment status and if they are a parent. We provide these response rates overall; we also compare the GPG for different types of respondents. This sample was collected between June 2021 and January 2023 and comprised of 420,697 respondents to the Parent question and 78,179 respondents to the unemployment questions. These questions include:
Are you a parent or primary caregiver?
Are you currently employed?
- Yes, at this same company (They are evaluating a job offer at a company they already work for)
- Yes, but at a different company
How long has it been since you were last employed?
- Less than 3 months
- 3-6 months
- 6-12 months
- 12-18 months
- 18-24 months
- More than 24 months
- This will be my first job
How long have you been actively seeking a job?
- Less than 3 months
- 3-6 months
- 6-12 months
- 12-18 months
- 18-24 months
- More than 24 months
What was the primary reason for your time away from work?
- I was attending school/receiving additional training
- I was caring for a child
- I was caring for a family member other than a child
- I was dealing with personal health issues
- I relocated
- I was let go from or quit my previous job
Analysis of the racial pay gap
For analysis by race, we look only at those with at least a bachelor’s degree. Racial gender pay gap numbers reported are relative to white men unless otherwise noted. Due to sample size issues, we are unable to report data on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders beyond the director level.
Total Cash Compensation: TCC combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or value of other non-cash benefits (e.g., healthcare).
Median Pay: The median pay is the national median (50th Percentile) total cash compensation (TCC). Half the people doing the job earn more than the median, while half earn less.
Uncontrolled Gender Pay Gap: Median pay for men and women are examined separately, and the difference in the median is reported as the uncontrolled gap. Variables such as years of experience and education are not controlled for. This provides a picture of the differences in wages earned by men and women in an absolute sense.
Controlled Gender Pay Gap: This is the amount that a woman earns for every dollar that a comparable man earns. That is, this is the pay difference that exists between the genders after we control for all measured compensable factors. If the controlled pay gap is $0.97, then a woman would earn 97 cents for every dollar that a man with the same employment characteristics.
Controlled Median Pay: We calculate this estimate of what the typical woman would earn if she occupied the same position as the typical man.
Unemployment Penalty: This is the percentage difference in the salary offered to an individual who is currently employed versus one who is currently unemployed, while controlling for relevant factors and excluding those who were unemployed to attend school or receive additional training. The unemployment penalty changes based on the duration of unemployment.
Industries: PayScale uses 15 industry categories that are custom aggregates of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
Occupations: We report data for 22 occupations as defined by the Standard Occupational Classification System.
- Individual Contributor: Employees who do not manage others.
- Supervisors/Managers: Employees with people management responsibilities.
- Directors: Employees who manage managers but are below the level of vice president.
- Executives: Employees with the title of vice president or hire.
Percent Men/Women (BLS): We present the gender breakdown by job group or industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey from January 2023. For Industries, we calculated a weighted average of the custom Payscale aggregations of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) groups when definitions span multiple NAICS industries (e.g. Technology).
Race/Ethnicity: Respondents could choose one or more of the following and could opt to self-identify in an open-response.
- American Indian and Alaska Native
- Black or African American
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
- Prefer Not to Answer
Only respondents who chose exactly one of the above were included in our analysis by race.
What to do about pay gaps
Employers can make an impact on the gender pay gap by closing it within their own organizations. Our whitepaper on The State of Pay Equity in 2023 includes data on pay equity from our 2023 Compensation Best Practices Report with additional analysis by compensation consultants from Payscale on what employers should be doing to address pay gaps within their organizations, including how pay transparency legislation is affecting pay equity initiatives. You can also check out pay equity solutions from Payscale as well as our compensation management software and services.