For women, it's hard to ignore the gender pay gap, no matter where we are in our careers. Even if it isn't at the forefront of our minds as we work, we are aware of it. We know how real it is, in every job, across every industry.


The gender pay gap is a frustrating, sometimes infuriating problem that affects all women differently. Common factors that influence a woman's pay include race, occupation, and job level.

So, what are the most recent statistics on the gender pay gap? Here are the biggest takeaways from PayScale's Gender Pay Gap Report for 2020.

Uncontrolled vs. Controlled Gender Pay Gap

Two women talk about work

There are two key metrics we need to look at when discussing the gender pay gap. Those are the uncontrolled and controlled gender pay gap.

The uncontrolled gender pay gap measures the median salary for all men and women regardless of job type or worker seniority. The controlled gender pay gap measures the median salary for all men and women who work the same job and have the same qualifications.

In 2020, the uncontrolled gender pay gap calculated that women earn 81 cents for every $1 men earn. The controlled gender pay gap calculated that women earn 98 cents for every $1 men earn.

In other words, the median salary for men is almost 20% higher than the median salary for women.

For men and women who work the same job and possess the same qualifications, women will still be paid 2% less than their male counterparts for no apparent or attributable reason.

How Much Women Lose Over A 40-Year Career

Group of women in a meeting

The true impact of the gender pay gap is better understood when we look at lifetime earnings.

Just like there is an uncontrolled and controlled gender pay gap, there is also an uncontrolled and controlled lifetime earnings metric.

In 2020, the controlled lifetime earnings for women with a 40-year career was $80,000 less than men with the same career length. Even more alarming, the uncontrolled lifetime earnings for women with a 40-year career was $900,000 less than men with a 40-year career.

The Gender Pay Gap Is Wider For Women Of Color

Serious woman at work

When we look at uncontrolled data, all women earn less than white men. But that gap is wider for women of color. American Indian and Alaska Native women, black or African American women, and Hispanic women all earn 75 cents for every $1 white men earn. Asian women earn 95 cents for every $1 white men earn, while Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women earn 80 cents.

The gender pay gap widens for women of color even when we look at the controlled data. The largest controlled gender pay gaps are seen between American Indian and Alaska Native women and white men, and black or African American women and white men, both earning 97 cents for every $1 white men earn.

As Women Progress In Their Career, The Gender Pay Gap Widens

Executive woman talks to her younger colleagues

As a woman progresses in her career, the gender pay gap between her and her male counterparts widens (when working at the same job level).

The uncontrolled gender pay gap for women at the manager/supervisor level is 83 cents for every $1 men earn. At the director level, it's 81 cents, and at the executive level, it's 69 cents.

The same trend can be seen when we look at the controlled gender pay gap for women at different job levels. Women at the manager/supervisor level earn 98 cents for every $1 men earn, while women at the director level earn 97 cents, and women at the executive level earn 95 cents.


We still have a long ways to go before we reach equal pay in this country, but while some of this data can be discouraging, it's important to remember how far we've come. Women will continue to rise to the top in every industry, and there will come a day when we finally earn what we've deserved to earn all along.


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