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Women Stand to Lose $900,000 in Lifetime Earnings — Payscale’s Gender Pay Gap Report Shows

  • Women lose out on nearly a million dollars in earnings over their lifetimes due to the uncontrolled gender pay gap.
  • Jobs with the largest gender pay gaps span an array of professions, including bartenders, physicians and surgeons, and database administrators.
  • The best U.S. metros for women to work in include Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, and Washington, D.C.; the metros with the widest gender pay gaps include St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

SEATTLE , March 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Payscale Inc., the leading provider of compensation data, software and services, revealed the results of its 2023 Gender Pay Gap Report (GPGR), in observance of Equal Pay Day. This year’s report found that the gender pay gap is still impacting women nationwide, but is beginning to close in some locations and industries.

Payscale’s analysis found that in 2023, for every dollar that men make, women earn $0.83 when data are uncontrolled and only gender is accounted for. This is one cent nearer to closing the gender pay gap compared to last year, but still adds up to an estimated lifetime earnings loss of at least $900,000. When data are controlled, or “equal pay for equal work” is examined for the same job title, education, years of experience and hours worked, women still only make $0.99 for every dollar that men earn. This one cent gap can compound into a significant loss of earnings over a career — meaning that women with the same job and qualifications will make $70,000 less on average than their male counterparts.

“The uncontrolled gender pay gap, often called the ‘opportunity gap,’ tells us that high-earning, prestigious jobs favor men while women’s work is less valued. The controlled gender pay gap tells us that women are still paid less than men for equal work, for no attributable reason,” said Ruth Thomas, pay equity strategist at Payscale. “Both metrics are important, and together they highlight the wealth and power imbalance that continue to exist between men and women in our society.”

To illustrate the true impact on lost earnings, Payscale’s GPGR exposes the top jobs with the widest controlled gender pay gaps, and what that translates to in real dollar losses. Women in these particular roles have the same qualifications as men, but they experience a pay gap far wider than one cent.

Rank Top 10 Jobs with the Widest
Gender Pay Gaps
Gender Pay
Median Pay –
Median Pay –
Difference in
1 Bartenders $0.80 $30,200 $24,200 ($6,000)
2 Waiters and Waitresses $0.82 $25,600 $21,000 ($4,600)
3 Physicians and Surgeons, All Other $0.88 $282,000 $247,000 ($35,000)
4 Directors, Religious Activities & Education $0.88 $55,200 $48,400 ($6,800)
5 Driver/Sales Workers $0.89 $38,800 $34,500 ($4,300)
6 Credit Analysts $0.90 $62,200 $55,800 ($6,400)
7 Database Administrators $0.91 $84,300 $76,300 ($8,000)
8 Chemical Technicians $0.91 $46,500 $42,200 ($4,300)
9 Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders $0.91 $43,900 $39,900 ($4,000)
10 Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers $0.91 $52,700 $48,100 ($4,600)

A myriad of factors and biases can undermine women’s pay, including what is often referred to as the “motherhood penalty.” Women who are parents experience an uncontrolled pay gap of $0.75 for every dollar earned by fathers, and $0.98 for every dollar earned by fathers with the same employment characteristics. The gender pay gap also widens as women climb the corporate ladder, with female executives making $0.72 compared to male executives when data are uncontrolled and $0.95 when data are controlled for the same job and qualifications. Women are also less likely to be promoted as often or as quickly as men; just 4% of women occupy executive positions compared to 8% of men.

Race and gender also intersect to result in wider pay gaps for women of color. American Indian and Native Alaskan women make $0.72 for every dollar white men make. When data is controlled for compensable factors, American Indian and Native Alaskan women, Black women, and white women do not receive equal pay for equal work. Additionally, women of color are more likely to stagnate in their careers, and when they do advance, they see bigger pay gaps. However, the gender pay gap closes for Asian women when data are controlled, and this year we saw the controlled gender pay gap close for Hispanic women and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women.

The gender pay gap is also closing in some locations. Women are paid the same as men overall for coastal metros that include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Portland, and Washington, D.C. The metros with the largest controlled and uncontrolled gender pay gaps are situated across America’s heartland, such as St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

Additionally, the GPGR found that pay gaps vary by industry. The uncontrolled gender pay gap is widest in finance and insurance ($0.77) and in agencies and consultancies ($0.84); both of which have a higher proportion of women workers, but more men occupy the executive roles. When controlling for compensable factors, the technology, engineering and science, real estate, education, and healthcare sectors have achieved pay equity in 2023.

“The gender pay gap is pervasive and stubborn, progressing at a glacial pace over the past 20 years. Fortunately, with the rise of pay transparency legislation, we anticipate that real headway will be made toward achieving fair and equal pay for all,” said Lulu Seikaly, senior corporate employment attorney at Payscale. “These regulations force employers to prioritize pay equity within their organizations. Soon, pay transparency will be table stakes for attracting and retaining talent, regardless of the laws.”

Earlier research from Payscale shows that pay transparency can help close the gender pay gap. This is mostly because organizations that are more transparent about pay are also more structured in their approach to pay, and therefore less likely to have a pay inequity problem. According to Payscale’s 2023 Compensation Best Practices Report (CBPR), employers are getting on board. Findings show that 78% of organizations either have pay transparency or are improving pay data, structures, and equity to get there, and 45% of organizations are posting pay ranges in job ads — double compared to 2022.

Looking ahead, employers should prioritize making pay equity central to their pay strategy. Payscale’s compensation management software and services enables organizations to easily evaluate their current compensation strategies and standardize their internal pay practices to increase transparency and ensure fair pay.

Payscale recently launched a beta version of Fair Pay Insights for its Payfactors platform. This new feature helps organizations maintain pay equity year-round by monitoring for pay equity gaps that may creep up as compensation decisions are made throughout the year. The software visualizes pay gap deltas between baseline and non-baseline employee groups, gender and ethnicity representation in roles, and how pay differs for each group against the market index. The new feature will be made available to all Payfactors customers soon.

The 2023 Gender Pay Gap Report analyzes crowdsourced data from over 758,000 people in the U.S. who took Payscale’s online salary survey between January 2021 and January 2023. The full report and its methodology, including analysis by race, job level, age, education, industry, occupation, and location, can be accessed in its entirety on

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