Women Are Three-Quarters of Workers In the 10 Largest Low-Wage Jobs, Wage Gaps Exist In All But Three Occupations, NWLC Analysis Shows

The following is a quote from Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center:

“Women are three-quarters of workers in the largest, lowest-wage occupations. And these low-wage jobs account for a disproportionate share of the jobs women have gained since the start of the recovery. What’s worse, women in these low-wage jobs are paid ten cents less on every dollar earned by men. These stark facts underscore why it’s critical to raise the minimum wage and advance equal pay and equal opportunity for women.”

NWLC’s new analysis of employment and wage data reveals these key facts and statistics:

  • Three-quarters: The share of workers in the 10 largest low-wage occupations (defined in this analysis as those with median hourly wages of less than $10.10 per hour) who are women (76 percent), compared to 47 percent of all workers who are women.
  • Two times larger: Share of the total net increase in women’s employment between 2009, the first year of the recovery, and 2013 that was in the 10 largest low-wage jobs (35 percent) compared to men’s share of the net increase in employment that was in these low-wage jobs (18 percent).
  • 37 percent: The share of workers in the 10 largest low-wage occupations who are women of color, compared to 16 percent of all workers.
  • One-quarter: The share of workers in the 10 largest low-wage occupations who are mothers with children under 18 (24 percent), compared to just over 16 percent of all workers.
  • 10 cents: The size of the average wage gap in the 10 largest low-wage job categories. In the 10 largest low-wage occupations, women working full time were typically paid only 90.4 percent of what their male counterparts were paid each week – an average wage gap of 9.6 cents.
  • Three: The number of job categories out of 111 in which the median weekly earnings of women working full time were not lower than those of men: computer occupations; wholesale and retail buyers; and bakers.

The 10 largest low-wage occupations and the percentage of women in each occupation are: childcare workers (95%); home health aides (89%); maids and housekeepers (88%); personal care aides (84%); cashiers (72%); waiters and waitresses (70%); combined food preparers and servers (65%); bartenders (58%); food preparation workers (56%); and hand packers and packagers (49%).

Sources: Wage gap, share of women by occupation, growth in annual average employment: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Current Population Survey, annual average data for 2009-2013. Wage gaps are based on median weekly earnings for full-time workers. Workforce demographics: NWLC calculations based on IPUMS-CPS (2013) for 2012. Classification of 10 largest occupations with median wages of less than $10.10 per hour: BLS, Occupational Employment Statistics.