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May 14, 2010
Top-Paying Jobs for Women
A list of top-paying jobs for women was recently released. Forbes ranked the occupations based on 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition to the list, Forbes reported that while the pay gap between men and women still exists, the difference is slowly closing. This is partly due to an increase in women earning advanced degrees.

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Highlights from the list. Chief executives came out on top, making an average of $81,000. However, women only made up 25 percent of chief executives in the U.S. and generally made 75 percent of their male counterparts’ salary. The inequality in pay reflects the national pay gap. On average men are making around 20 percent more than females in the U.S.

Second on the list were pharmacists with a median salary of $76,500. The data suggests that women now hold nearly half of pharmacist positions in the U.S. Lawyers followed as number 3 on the list.

Two occupations that made it onto Forbes’ list for the first time were computer programmers (7) and occupational therapists (10). While women filled fewer computer programmer positions than men, roughly 20 percent, the perks of the job are noteworthy. The median salary was $62,000 a year and the job tends to be flexible, allowing non-traditional benefits such as telecommuting. This occupation is one of the few top-paying jobs that generally does not require an advanced degree.

Occupational therapists had a median salary of $60,000. Unlike the other occupations, women hold the majority of positions, over 80 percent, and the pay between men and women is equal. In addition, occupational therapists are in a growing field. According to BLS, another 26,000 positions are expected to be created by 2018.

What about Human Resource Managers? HR managers may not have been on Forbes’ list, but women in this field brought home a median salary of $59,100, significantly higher than the median salary for all female workers as a whole which was $34,200. Unfortunately, a pay gap also exists in the HR field even though women fill close to 70 percent of the positions. Female HR managers on average made 20% less than their male counterpart, reflecting the national average pay gap.

In comparison to the top-paying jobs, a list of the top 20 most common jobs for women in 2009 was recently released by BLS. The top three most common jobs (and median salary) were:

  1. Secretaries and administrative assistants ($32,200)
  2. Registered nurses ($54,800)
  3. Elementary and middle school teachers ($46,300)


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