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The gender pay gap is narrowing but other inequities remain, from leisure time to who gets jobs in the top paying fields. According to a new study from Pew Research, women are still underrepresented for the top paying jobs, which typically earn over $100,000 a year, compared to the average salary of $41,000. Here are highlights from the study:

  • Women are underrepresented in nine out of 10 of the top paying jobs: The single exception is pharmacist, where women are 61% of the workforce. (However, the median salary for pharmacists is ranked eighth on the list.) On average, women make up 47% of the workforce but have only 35% of the jobs in the top paying industries.
  • Engineering and piloting lag behind: The share of dentists has more than quadrupled since the 1980s (7% to 33%). The share of doctors has nearly tripled (13% to 38%), while lawyers have gone from 14% to 40%. However, women still make up less than 10% of sales engineers and geological engineers, and only 7% of pilots are women compared to 2% in the 1980s.
  • The pipeline is improving: Women are gaining more advanced degrees. Currently, 52% of law degree recipients are women compared to 30% in 1980, while 50% of M.D.s are female compared to 23% in 1980, and 63% of pharmacy doctorates are women.

“Pharmacists are also the only occupation in the top 10 where women make up the majority. This could be because the field offers flexible work hours, a collaborative environment and family-friendly policies,” the study’s authors wrote.

According to the study, the highest-paying U.S. occupations in 2021 were: 

  1. Physicians
  2. Chief executives and public administrators 
  3. Dentists 
  4. Actuaries
  5. Physicists and astronomers
  6. Lawyers
  7. Sales engineers
  8. Pharmacists 
  9. Airplane pilots and navigators 
  10. Petroleum, mining, and geological engineers




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