In Big Cities, Young Women Outearn Men

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-08-06

Could the days of a gender wage gap be behind us? They sure seem to be for young, college educated women in big cities, finds an analysis of BLS data completed by the Department of Sociology at Queens College in New York, released Aug. 3.

Salaries of full-time female employees in their 20s have surpassed the same-aged males in cities like Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Dallas and New York. In New York City, these women earned 17 percent more than their male counterparts; in Dallas, this gap jumped to 20 percent.

According to the NCPE (National Committee on Pay Equity), while women's wages have risen in all states since 1989 (from 68.5 to 77 percent in 2006), the typical full-time woman worker does not make as much as the typical man in any state. In Washington, D.C. over the same period, the gap actually increased. The NCPE argues that at the present rate of progress, it will take 50 years to close the wage gap nationwide.

The Queens College report emphasized that the trend of women's salaries outpacing men's only occurred in urban areas. Women fared best in the northeast and west overall, but lagged the farthest behind in Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The news isn't much brighter among technology professionals. According to a report released by the IT staffing firm, Dice, in January, women earned on average 9.7 percent less than men in 2006. This narrowed slightly from the year prior when the difference was 10.9 percent. The IT gender gap was largest among database administrators, at 15 percent.

However, the Dice survey noted some bright spots where a gender pay gap was absent. In fact, female professionals actually surpassed their male counterparts in salary among specific job titles, such as help desk professionals (4.8 percent), technical writers (2.5 percent) and IT executives. Female CEOs, CIOs, chief technology officers, vice presidents and directors earned 1.4 percent more than male IT executives, according to the report.

Finally, like the Queens College research, the Dice report noted that younger female technology employees posted smaller salary gaps than older female technology employees.

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