gender pay gap

Minimizing the gender pay gap to an eventual point of non-existence is an admirable goal that we should be striving towards.

The gender pay gap, or the percent difference between the median yearly earnings of males and females working full-time, has long been a talking point, but the pace at which it has been shrinking can sometimes feel like that of a snail’s.

That’s not to say, however, that improvements have not been made over time. And, a recent report published by LendEDU shed some light on the progress that has been made in narrowing the gender pay gap over the last decade.

In that study, LendEDU analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from both 2010 and 2018 that included yearly median earnings for full-time, year-round male and female workers. This data was broken down by 664 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, all 50 states and Washington D.C., and the country as a whole so that more localized gender pay gap trends could be included on top of those for the nation.

Between 2010 and 2018, the gender pay gap in the U.S. narrowed by 2.14 percentage points (pps), going from 22.46% to 20.31%. Specifically, median male earnings were $46,478 in 2010 and $52,318 2018, while those numbers for females were $36,040 and $41,690, respectively.

On a state-by-state basis, Wyoming saw the biggest narrowing of its gender pay gap between 2010 and 2018, as it went from 36.23% to 29.14% for a drop of 7.09 pps. Other states that experienced considerable drops in the gender pay gap over the last decade included Connecticut (6.29 pps), Delaware (6.05 pps), Arkansas (5.97 pps), and New York (5.95 pps).

On the other side of things, states that actually saw the gender pay widen over the period of time included Washington D.C. (+1.52 pps), Oklahoma (+.63 pps), and South Dakota (+.55 pps).

When looking at the gender pay data in the most localized way, by metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, places that have seen their gender pay gaps tightened substantially include Kerrville, Texas (20.59 pps), Columbus, Mississippi (16.47 pps), New Bern, North Carolina (16.40 pps), Coos Bay, Oregon (15.47 pps), and Boone, North Carolina (14.14 pps).

If the gender pay gap is going to continue to shrink, business owners will continue to have an integral part to play.

One of the most important things a business owner can do is collect data on their own gender pay gap and be public about it with employees, who will always respect transparency. By employee and employer working together to narrow the gap, improvements can be made.

Being forthcoming about your own organization’s work on shrinking the pay gap will allow the entire company to keep track of the progress and have everybody pulling in one direction towards a common goal. Plus, the data and insights may help another company looking to close their own pay gap.

Another initiative that a business owner can take is establishing an internal training program that helps prepare the company’s young employees, specifically females, for upper management positions. When jobs on the C-suite open up, you want women that are already within your company to be prepared and ready to seize the opportunity.

A mentorship program that connects experienced female employees at your company with young women can also be implemented and paired with the above.

Improving the gender pay gap at your own company is a win-win both for you as a business owner and your employees. While you help advance the cause of eliminating the gender pay gap, your employees experience fair and equal pay that will help them in life.

In his role at LendEDU, Mike Brown uses data, usually from surveys and publicly-available resources, to identify emerging personal finance trends and tell unique stories. Mike’s work, featured in major outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, provides consumers with a personal finance measuring stick and can help them make informed finance decisions.

Pay gap stock photo by Hyejin Kang/Shutterstock