Young women making more money than young men in nearly 2 dozen US cities: Study

Young women are out-earning young men in several cities across the United States, according to a new study, which a New York University School of Professional Studies professor noted “indicates progress” both “on the pay side and where women choose to work.”

A Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data released late last month revealed that while, on average, women in the United States continue to make less money than men, the gender wage gap is narrower among younger workers, but varies across geographical locations.

The analysis of 2019 Census Bureau data showed that in 22 of 250 U.S. metropolitan areas, including New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, women under the age of 30 earn the same amount or more than men. In fact, those three cities are among those where young women are earning the most relative to young men, the study revealed. 

“The fact that younger women are catching up with men I think is not a surprise,” Dr. Beverly Tarulli, a clinical assistant professor with the NYU School of Professional Studies Human Capital Management, Analytics, and Technology program told FOX Business.

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Tarulli, who is an industrial and organizational psychologist, has more than three decades of industry experience as both an internal human resources professional and as a human capital expert providing service to clients. Throughout her career, her professional interests have focused on the engagement, retention and progression of women in the workplace.

She pointed to her “long-term interest” in the topic, noting that her dissertation when she was pursuing her PhD was on gender differences and perceptions of pay. 

Dr. Beverly Tarulli is a clinical assistant professor and lead faculty for the NYU School of Professional Studies Human Capital Management, Analytics, and Technology program. (NYU School of Professional Studies)

Some “encouraging” findings of the recent study, she explained, suggest that companies are “being more cognizant of making sure that they are making offers based on qualifications as opposed to assumptions about men and women and maybe how long they are going to be working in a particular job.”

In addition, the analysis also suggests that women are more “savvy” about “knowing how much they are worth,” which she believes “is partly due to the access to data that we didn’t have years ago.”

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The professor also noted that Glassdoor and other employment sources provide data where one can “see what people are making in specific occupations.” 

In both the New York and Washington metro areas, women under the age of 30 earned 102% of what men in the same age group earned in 2019 when analyzing median annual earnings among full-time employees, the Pew Research study revealed, noting that in the Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim metropolitan area, the median earnings for women and men in this age group were the same. 

In general, there has been “a consistent” decrease in the gender wage gap over time as companies became more focused on diversity and as women were moving from company to company “for more money,” Tarulli observed. 

Young women are out-earning young men in nearly 2 dozen US cities, a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data found. (Istock / iStock)

“Obviously they were kind of moving up quicker than men because everybody knows that you tend to make a little bit more money by moving jobs as opposed to staying in one place for a long period of time,” she explained. 

The Pew Research analysis also revealed that metropolitan areas in the Midwest tend to have wider gender wage gaps among young employees.

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One reason for that is because in the Midwest “you have a lot more traditional industries,” which she noted “tend to be old industrial” whereas the coasts seem to focus more on financial services and technology. 

“And so I think the opportunities for young women, particularly if they are in certain occupations, like software engineers and those sorts, the opportunities are greater there,” she argued. 

Even so, the study showed women, on average, still make less than their male counterparts. Among full-time workers in 2019, women’s median annual earnings were 82% those of men.

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“While looking at the overall wage gap is interesting and it’s important information, we need to understand that it conflates two different things. It conflates the wages as well as the occupations,” Tarulli noted. 

She explained that the revelations in gender gap studies like this one sometimes mask “some nuances within the data” given, in part, that “women are more attracted to some jobs than others and vice versa.” 

And while the study is encouraging overall, more work to bridge the wage gap is needed and offered some ways that goal could be achieved although that it is “tough to solve,” she added, stressing that “transparency is huge” as it pertains to salaries.

“There could be some legislative solutions here around companies being very transparent in what they are offering, even if it’s a pay range when they post jobs,” Tarulli said. “I think that gives people much more information.” 

“I think companies themselves can be doing more pay equity work, making sure that when offers are made, they are somewhat standardized between making sure that, for whatever reason, people aren’t making lower offers to women versus men because I suspect that still happens a bit,” she continued.

Tarulli defined pay equity as the same salary for employees doing similar work, taking into account factors that “legitimately determine pay,” including job level, experience, performance ratings and location.

She also noted that on the education side, “women need to really understand how jobs are valued in the market” as a way to bridge the wage gap. 

“So if you go get a four-year degree, in education you are probably going to be making less than somebody who has a four-year degree in engineering,” Tarulli concluded. 

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