Fewer Women in Management … for Now


Women still have a hard time climbing the corporate ladder, according to a government report released Tuesday.  

The Women in Management report compared population data from 2000 and 2007 and found that the percentage of women in management positions had increased by only 1% for that period. In 2007, the last year for which comprehensive data on managers is available, 40% were women. In 2000, women held 39% of management positions.

The view from the lower rungs of the corporate ladder, however, is a little brighter. Women held 49% of all non-management jobs in both 2000 and 2007.

“Although women’s representation across the general workforce is growing, there remains a need for information about the challenges women face in advancing their careers,” wrote Andrew Sherrill from the Government Accountability Office.

The findings were based on an analysis of data from the American Community Survey of the Census Bureau. The Office looked at management demographics in 13 different industries, only three of which - construction, public administration and transportation and utilities - had a proportionate representation of male and female managers.

The study, commissioned by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, did indicate that the wage gap between male and female managers was narrowing, albeit slightly. On average, full-time female managers earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by full-time male managers in 2007. In 2000, that number was 79 cents.

Less promising, however, is the discovery that the pay gap is even wider for women who have children. In 2007, managers who were mothers earned 79 cents for every dollar paid to fathers in such positions, just as they did in 2000.

Besides differences in wages, the research showed that female managers in 2007 were on average less educated, younger, more likely to work part-time, and less likely to be married or have children than male managers.

These sentiments seem to indirectly support an earlier analysis of Census Bureau data that found that women now earn 8% more than men … but only if they are under 30, unmarried, childless and living in a major metropolitan city.

New 2009 census data released Tuesday shows that women earned, on average, about 78% of a man's salary in 2009 ($35,549 compared with $45,485).

But good news may be on the horizon. USA Today’s analysis of the 2009 data found that the gender gap in colleges is narrowing, a trend that will likely make its way to the professional world in a few years.

According to the analysis, about 47% of science and engineering degree holders aged 25 to 39 were women, compared with 21% among those 65 and older. For business majors, about 48% of the younger group was female, almost double that of older generations.

On top of that, the Council of Graduate Schools also released data recently showing women earn the majority of doctoral degrees in the U.S.

In what other ways are women showing up men? Check out this MainStreet roundup of jobs where women make more money than men?

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