Women still earn less than men, but they’ve narrowed the gap because they tend to work in jobs that require more social and analytical skills, a new study from the Pew Research Center finds. Those jobs are increasingly prized in the U.S. economy, while jobs calling for physical and manual skills are becoming less important, the study says.
Women’s pay went up 32 percent while men’s pay went down 3 percent from 1980 to 2015, according to the study, “The State of American Jobs.” Those figures are adjusted for inflation and apply to people working full-time, year-round.
Even after all that progress, women still earned 20 percent less than men—$40,000 vs. $50,000 in median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers. Pew didn’t attempt to explain the gap, but economists tend to attribute it partly to sex discrimination and partly to factors such as women’s interrupting their careers to raise children. Plus, even though the U.S. economy is changing in a direction that benefits women, the jobs in which they’re most concentrated, such as child care, still often pay less than jobs in fields such as manufacturing, in which men are concentrated.