National Equal Pay Day: Women in Male-Dominated Career Industries

By shakir_williams on 04/10/2018

women in construction equal pay day

Since it is National #EqualPayDay what a better time to shed some light on the wage gap within the building industry, especially in construction. According to the Census Bureau, women make an average of about 79% to the dollar when compared to men.

This gap is especially apparent in industries that are male-concentrated. Although we are seeing a lot of women entering into positions that were once completely male-dominated, there is still a significant wage gap that should be addressed.

What is the wage gap?

women in construction wage gapA 2017 study performed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found a considerable wage gap in occupations commonly held by men. Among many career options, including software development, truck drivers, and construction laborers, they found a significant difference in wages amongst men and women.

The study found that women in construction earn about 95.2% to the dollar when compared with their male counterparts. Check out the chart below! 

 

Women’s median weekly earnings

Women’s earnings as a % of men’s

Men’s median weekly earnings

Share of female workers in occupation (%)

Share of male workers in occupation as % of all male workers

Share of female workers in occupation as %of all female workers

All Full Time Workers

$770

81.8%

$941

44.4%

100%

100%

16 Most Common Occupations for Men

Truck Drivers

$589

73%

$807

4.9%

4.3%

0.3%

Construction Workers

n/a

n/a

$667

3%

2.2%

0.1%

Retail Supervisors

$639

71.7%

$891

42.4%

2.2%

2.0%

Freight Movers

$500

84%

$595

17.5%

1.9%

0.5%

Software Developers

$1,543

82.8%

$1,863

18.4%

1.9%

0.5%

Retail Salespersons

$523

74.3%

$704

38.8%

1.8%

1.5%

Janitors

$481

83.8%

$574

28.8%

1.8%

0.9%

Cooks

$436

90.6%

$481

37.1%

1.4%

1.0%

Carpenters

n/a

n/a

$789

2.2%

1.4%

0.0%

Chief Executives

$1,920

79.5%

$2,415

27.6%

1.3%

0.6%

Maintenance Workers

n/a

n/a

$526

3.7%

1.3%

0.1%

Automotive Technicians

n/a

n/a

$764

2.0%

1.2%

0.0%

Production Workers

$570

79.6%

$716

26.7%

1.0%

0.5%

Customer Service Workers

$637

89.5%

$712

65.6%

1.0%

2.5%

Accountants/Auditors

$1,065

76.7%

$1,389

78.4%

1.0%

4.4%

Elementary/Middle school Teachers

$987

86.7%

$1,139

78.4%

1.0%

4.4%

Why is the wage higher for men than women?

women in construction equal pay day

Construction laborers can earn different wages based on their skill set and seniority. Wages can also depend on location and level of experience (from apprentice to journeyman, to master). Earnings can also be determined by the industry.

Heavy commercial contractors may make more money than residential contractors because of the volume of the project. This means that a man in California may get paid more money than a woman in Virginia just because he’s been working as a master electrician for 12 years. 

 

Are there prejudices within the construction industry?

women in construction wage gapIt is evident that many women are not holding some of the higher paying positions that men do. There is a significant discrepancy in construction jobs held by women. Some positions that require a certain skill set, such as welding and electrical engineering are not as evenly spread out as other positions, like heavy equipment operating.

It may also be true that people have a prejudiced perception over the expertise and quality of work of women in this industry. Perhaps people just don’t place the same value on women as they would a man in the industry. 

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Are you or do you know a woman in the construction industry? Have you experienced wage discrimination in the workplace?

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