Pilots and Chefs Top List of Jobs With Biggest Gender Pay Gap: Study

As the U.S. marks Equal Pay Day, the date symbolizing how far into the year women must work to earn what their male counterparts earned in the previous year alone, a new study has found that pilots, chefs and C-suite professionals were among the hardest hit by the gender pay gap.

The study from Glassdoor, one of the world's biggest job and recruitment sites, found that while "the gender pay gap in the U.S. has narrowed slightly over the last three years...gaps remain and we're still decades away from reaching pay equality."

In its 2019 study, Glassdoor found that women earn 79 cents for every $1 earned by men, up three cents from 2016, when the platform's study found that women were earning 76 cents for every $1 men made.

The study, which analyzed more than half a million Glassdoor salary reports for job titles, found the pay disparity between male and female pilots to be the highest among jobs listed on its site, with male pilots earning, on average, 26.6 percent more than their female counterparts.


After pilots, the study found chefs to be the second most affected, with a gap of 24.6 percent. They were closely followed by C-suite executives, which had a pay gap of 24 percent between male and female employees, which Glassdoor said was "broadly consistent with academic research showing a persistent gender pay gap among executive-level positions in the U.S.

"Pilots actually saw an increase of more than 10 percentage points in their gender pay gap while C-suite executives and chefs saw a small decrease (3.7 and 3.5 percentage points, respectively), from Glassdoor's study in 2016," Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao told Newsweek.

Other occupations with "larger-than-average gender pay gaps" included deputy managers, with a 17.1 percent pay gap, branch managers, with a 12.8 percent pay gap, retail representatives, with a 12.2 percent gap, drivers (11.7 percent) and computer programmers (11.6 percent).

While pilots appeared to have the biggest gender pay gap on Glassdoor, the industries the recruiting platform found to be the hardest hit overall by pay disparities were retail and media, with the same gap of 6.4 percent, followed by construction, repair and maintenance fields, with a gap of 6.2 percent.

The study, which analyzed more than half a million Glassdoor salary reports for job titles, found that while "the gender pay gap in the U.S. has narrowed slightly over the last three years," when it conducted a similar study in 2016, "gaps remain and we're still decades away from reaching pay equality."

Asked whether he believes Glassdoor's research provides a full picture of the gender pay gap in the U.S., Zhao said: "Our data is quite representative; The sample in our study includes over 400,000 salaries in the U.S. alone."

"Plus, our methodology for understanding the adjusted gender pay gap helps to mitigate any differences between Glassdoor data and the U.S. population by controlling for various factors like education, experience, age and job," he said.

In addition to analyzing salary reports, the Glassdoor study, together with the Harris Poll, also surveyed 1,025 U.S. adults employed full- or part-time to gauge the gender pay gap, with the questionnaire conducted between March 12 and March 14.

Of those polled, 67 percent of employees said they agreed that the gender pay gap "is a serious problem," with women being significantly more likely to concur with the sentiment—78 percent to 59.

Asked who they felt was responsible for closing the gender pay gap, half of polled employees (50 percent) said they believed those in senior leadership roles should be held accountable, while another 38 percent said it should be up to human resources managers, and 30 percent said they believe the responsibility should fall on politicians' shoulders.

According to Glassdoor's research, the end of the pay gap in the U.S. could be decades away, with pay equality unlikely to be achieved "until 2070, if current factors remain unchanged."

However, "broadly speaking, the improvement in the gender pay gap has been felt across most jobs — it's not just a few jobs that are driving the trend," Zhao said. "We are seeing an improvement across large swaths of the labor market, driven by a number of factors ranging from the tight labor market, upswell of the #MeToo movement, larger support for pay transparency and more."

"Over the past three years, company leaders, politicians, celebrities and more have called for an end to the gender pay gap," Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain said in a statement.

"Glassdoor's comprehensive study put those words to the test to reveal that slight progress has been made to close the gap," he said. But while Chamberlain said the small increase is a "promising sign," "it should not detract from the larger fact that significant pay gaps remain around the world, even after controlling for workplace and job factors."

Two airliners pass in the sky above Malta, December 23, 2016. Darrin Zammit-Lupi/Reuters

This article has been updated with statements from Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao .