Special Report

20 Worst Paying Jobs for Women

Detailed Findings

The majority of the jobs with the largest gender pay gaps are male dominated. Across all occupations, women account for 44.4% of the workforce. In 12 of the 20 jobs with the largest pay gaps, women make up a smaller share. In 14 jobs on this list men are the majority.

Occupations with even distributions of men and women, or even in which women comprise the majority, are by no means immune to relatively large gender pay gaps. Further, increasing female representation in the workplace does not translate to more equitable pay. In four of the jobs with the greatest income inequality, over 60% of the workforce is female. For example, 69.4% of human resource managers are female. Still, the typical woman working in the occupation earns just 73 cents for every dollar her male counterpart earns.

While the pay gap is certainly to a large extent the result of gender bias, there are other causes that contribute to the gap. One explanation is that men and women tend to gravitate to different jobs, at different pay levels, within an occupational designation. Of course, this too may have deep roots in years of gender bias and enduring traditional roles today.

For example, within the broad BLS designation of legal occupations, women earn just 63 cents for every dollar men earn. While glaring on its face, in many common legal professions the gap is smaller. Female lawyers, for example, earn 83 cents on the dollar, slightly better than the average across all occupations.

The larger 63% gender pay discrepancy across all legal occupations is largely explained by the much greater share of women working in the lower-paying legal jobs such as paralegals. More than 80% of all paralegals, a relatively low paying assistant position, are female. Meanwhile, men are far more likely than women to be lawyers — a much higher paying profession.

Differences between men and women in average hours worked per week also partially explain the gender pay gap. According to a recent poll by Gallup, men with full-time jobs are far more likely to work more than 40 hours per week than women.

More time in the office is not to say women do not work as much as men. Women are far more likely than men to spend more time on unpaid domestic labor, such as child rearing and household chores. So while the gender pay gap may not always be explained by overt sexism, prevailing social norms surrounding gender still have an impact.


To identify the worst paying jobs for women, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the difference in median weekly wages between men and women in 150 full-time occupations from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) program. The worst paying jobs for women were the full-time occupations with the highest disparity between male and female weekly wages. Total employment, male and female employment, employment projections from 2016 to 2026, and education requirements also came from the BLS. Percent changes in median weekly wages from 2008 to 2017 were calculated using data from the CPS. For employment projections and 10-year changes in median weekly wages, only jobs with consistent standard occupational codes are comparable between years. Average yearly wage estimates were calculated by multiplying average weekly wages by 52. Broad occupational categories that subsumed more precise designations were not considered.

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