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On Equal Pay Day, We Look at the Disparities in Earnings and Representation for Female Managers

Posted on March 15, 2022

While women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, they continue to earn less than their male counterparts. Today marks Equal Pay Day—a date that symbolizes how far into the current year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

In recognition of this continued pay gap, today’s WatchBlog post looks at our new report on the disparities affecting women in management, including earnings and representation.


Photo showing a woman and man standing outside a building holding briefcases.


While the pay gap has narrowed overall, the pay gap between female and male managers has not changed

The pay gap for women in the U.S. workforce has become smaller over time. In 2019, women working full time earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men working full time. This pay gap of 18 cents was smaller than the pay gap of 22 cents in 2007.

However, we found that women in management continue to earn less than their male counterparts, and this pay gap has not changed over the past decade.

In 2019, among full-time managers in all industries, women earned an average of 71 cents for every dollar earned by men. This pay gap of 29 cents for female managers was larger than the pay gap for all women working full time. The pay gap was larger for older women and most minority women in management.

Lower pay has potentially substantial effects on women’s long-term financial security. For example, we found that the pay gap affected women’s total lifetime earnings, which could result in women having lower retirement savings than men.

Women’s representation in management has marginally increased

We found that, over the past decade, women made only marginal gains in their representation among managers. While women are nearly half of the U.S. workforce (48%), they were less than half (42%) of America’s managers in 2019. This has only slightly improved since 2007 (by 2 percentage points). Even in industries where more than two-thirds of the workers were women, women were underrepresented among managers.

Compared to their male counterparts, female managers tended to be younger, more likely to have a college degree, and work in fields like health care and social assistance and educational services. We also found that female managers were less likely to be White and less likely to be married than male managers.

The pandemic may have magnified these disparities

Our report looked at pre-pandemic trends. But, research suggests that women experienced a greater decline in employment and productivity than men early in the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be in part due to women’s roles as caregivers in addition to their work responsibilities. However, the long-term impact of the pandemic on women in the workforce, including women in management, remains unclear.

To learn more about our work on women in management, check out our new report.


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