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Equal Pay Day 2022: The gender pay gap may get bigger as women return to work after COVID

The gap has narrowed by 2 cents since 2015, but it may get larger as women were disproportionately impacted by pandemic job losses.

Equal Pay Day 2022: The gender pay gap may get bigger as women return to work after COVID
[Source Image: Kristopher Roller/Unsplash]

We used to say certain things were changing at a “glacial pace” to indicate just how slowly the shift was happening. Given the state of the climate, soon the glaciers may be melting faster than the gender wage gap is closing.

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According to a new report from PayScale—released on Equal Pay Day, which is today—women are currently earning 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts based on uncontrolled data.

The 2022 Gender Pay Gap Report draws on compensation data to come up with both the controlled and uncontrolled gender pay gap. The controlled analysis measures “equal pay for equal work,” taking into account factors including job level and title, education, years of experience, industry, and hours worked and compares both men’s and women’s earnings. That reveals the gap in women’s pay is 99 cents for every dollar of their male counterparts in the same job.

The gap has narrowed by 2 cents since 2015, but it may get larger as women were disproportionately impacted by COVID, losing 58% of the 3.5 million of the total jobs lost in the United States due to the pandemic. According to the report:

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  • Women returning to the workforce after being unemployed experience wider pay gaps, earning only 70 cents compared to men after more than 24 months of unemployment.
  • The gender pay gap increases substantially for women aged 45 and above and stands at 73 cents for every dollar of men of the same age.
  • Native American women experience the widest pay gap when data is uncontrolled at 71 cents compared to every $1 men make.
  • Black women experience the widest gender pay gap when data is controlled for compensable factors, earning only 98 cents compared to every dollar men make.

You can see the full report which includes jobs that have the biggest gaps here.

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About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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