Why Men Earn more than Women

Women earn 80 cents for every dollar men earn - and it used to be even less. This always puzzled me. If women really work for 20% less than men, why does anyone ever hire a man to do anything? Labor makes up the lion’s share of most business’ costs. With a 20% cost savings advantage, wouldn’t firms populated by women always out compete those with men? A 20% cost savings right off the bat! That can be better than outsourcing to India. How is it that we don’t need affirmative action to keep those expensive men on the job?

I found a book that explains this anomaly descriptively called "Why Men Earn More and What Women Can do about it." Some of the difference has to do with the types of work men and women prefer. Dangerous and dirty is usually a man's job. Men account for 92% of all occupational deaths in the U.S. (This might be worth a 20% pay premium) Men dominate the list of the worst jobs in the U.S. in general. And men as twice as likely to work 50+ hours a week.

Another difference is training. Men are much more likely to study engineering, business etc. A person with such a degree commands higher salaries and in the high paying fields like this, woman graduates actually command higher salaries than men with the same background, but there are fewer of them.

So a lot of the gap has to do with personal choice. I personally have turned down jobs that paid much better because I chose to do a job I found more fulfilling, but men in general, are less likely than women to do that. Maybe both men and women are reaping the rewards of what they are choosing. I know that I occasionally regret not making the bigger bucks, but the benefits of doing what I choose outweigh that. How fair would it be for me to go to my colleagues who made the other choice and say that I want to keep my memories (and better lifestyle) but I want their money?

So if you compare apples to apples on the wage gap, you find that there really is nothing there. The victim industry certainly will not accept these figures that could cut into their lucrative practices. Maybe that's why we haven't heard much about this in the main stream media.

For women who want to earn more money, the book provides eight tips on how to earn more.

Posted by Jack at April 27, 2005 12:33 PM