Higher Levels of Education Are Leading to a Shrinking of the Gender Wage Gap

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that as women are becoming more educated than their male peers, they are increasingly taking positions in the skilled workforce. This has produced a shrinking of the gender wage gap.

The data shows that in 1980 women held 27 percent of what the report calls “analytical” jobs in the U.S. economy. This rose to 42 percent in 2018. In 1980, women held 40 percent of managerial jobs compared to 47 percent in 2017. As a result, after adjusting for inflation, the average hourly wage for women increased from $15 to $22 from 1980 to 2018. For men, the average wage increased from $23 to $26. Thus, the hourly gender wage gap was cut by more than half during the period.

“A rising level of education among women is one reason why the gender wage gap closed from 1980 to 2018,” according to the report. “In 1980, 16% of employed women ages 16 and older had completed four years of college education or more, compared with 20% of men. By 2018, 40% of women had completed at least a four-year college program, compared with 35% of men. Thus, whereas women once lagged men in college completion by 4 percentage points, they are now ahead of men by 5 points overall and are better equipped for higher-skill jobs.”

The study, “Women Make Gains in the Workplace Amid a Rising Demand for Skilled Workers,” may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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