Top Paying Jobs For Women – Where’s The Equality?

Top Paying Jobs For Women – Where’s The Equality?

Earlier this year Forbes published its list of the top paying jobs for women in 2013.  As I reviewed the top 20, it became painfully obvious that of the jobs with available data, there was only one in which women earn as much as men.  The job in Forbes’ number 1 spot and the only job in which Forbes notes women earn 100% of the pay earned by men – pharmacists

While it’s no surprise, it is disheartening to know that the jobs which supposedly offer the highest monetary value to women still put us at a disadvantage to our male counterparts.  What’s even more frustrating is that in the jobs where women hold the highest percentage of positions, such as human resources managers and medical health services managers, women still earn less than men!

I spent most of my career in human resources with a focus in compensation, so I’m well aware that the gender pay gap is real.  Even so, I was disturbed by the Forbes list.  So, I decided to do a little more digging.  I tried to find a list of the top paying jobs for men in 2013, but none of the search results that came up on Google were actually men-specific, at least they didn’t admit to being lists of high-paying jobs for men.  The closest list I could find to the Forbes list was askmen’s Top 10: Highest-Paying Jobs in the U.S published this year.

The result of askmen’s top 10, quite shocking when compared against the Forbes list for women – every job on the askmen list was quoted with a salary over $100,000, not one of the 20 jobs on the Forbes list was over $100,000.  The number 1 top paying job for women, pharmacists, didn’t even come close in salary to those quoted by askmen.

I put together a table of the top 10 best paying jobs for women from the Forbes 2013 list and the top 10 best paying jobs in the U.S. from a recent post on so you can compare the top 10 from each source.  Of these 10 jobs, 4 are the same – the same in title, but certainly not in pay!





Annual Median Salary: $97,500

Doctors and Surgeons
Average Annual Pay: $234,950


Chief Executives
Annual Median Salary: $90,000

Dentists and Orthodontists
Average Annual Pay: $204,670


Annual Median Salary: $85,000

Chief Executive Officers
Average Annual Pay: $176,550


Nurse Practitioners
Annual Median Salary: $79,500

Petroleum Engineer
Average Annual Pay: $138,980


Computer and Info Systems Managers
Annual Median Salary: $79,500

Average Annual Pay: $130,490


Physicians and Surgeons
Annual Median Salary: $74,000

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Average Annual Pay: $234,950


Physician Assistants
Annual Median Salary: $71,000

Natural Sciences Manager
Average Annual Pay: $128,230


Software Developers
Annual Median Salary: $71,000

Marketing Manager
Average Annual Pay: $126,190


Management Analysts
Annual Median Salary: $69,000

Computer and Info Systems Managers
Average Annual Pay: $125,660


Computer Systems Analysts
Annual Median Salary: $65,000

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Average Annual Pay: $124,160

Can this be right?

When I look at the top 10 from Forbes and askmen, I’m not only shocked, but appalled!  How can this possibly be?  I went back and checked each list to see if the sources of their pay data were noted.  Forbes cites their source as 2012 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and askmen cites their source as 2012 data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  Well, the BLS is a division of the DOL, so it appears the data comes from the same source.  I did notice that Forbes used median pay, which is 50th percentile, and askmen used mean pay, which is the average; but the difference between median and mean should not account for the huge differences in pay for the same jobs.  So, the obvious and only logical conclusion is gender pay discrimination.

Knowing, but still not wanting to believe the pay disparity between women and men is so blatant, I did a little more digging.  Cosmopolitan published a list of what they called The 14 Best Jobs for Women in March of this year.  The Cosmo list was even more frustrating than the Forbes list, but at least Cosmo noted a more reasonable salary for physicians ($177,000 on average), but on second thought this average probably included salaries for men and women, not just women. All of the other jobs on Cosmo’s list had average annual salaries well under $100,000.

Let’s get real for a minute.  I know many intelligent and talented women with salaries over $100,000, so I do think the Forbes and askmen lists may show the worst of the worse.  But, the bottom line is the gap in pay for women does exist, even today.  In my opinion, the real questions we should be asking are, “Why are we tolerating the continued inequity in pay, even in jobs that are 70 – 90% female? Why aren’t we demanding equal pay and equal rights? Where’s the outrage from women? Why aren’t we demanding that Congress pass the Paycheck Fairness Act?” 

We’re getting ready to ring in yet another new year, but the gender gap still exists.  For those of us who remember the 1970’s and the women’s movement, it’s frustrating and irritating to see that with all of the progress we’ve made, the pay gap continues to be as pervasive and persistent as in prior years. That’s why Marian and I started Ask Ajna. Our mission is to help women find their power and voice in the workplace to ask for and get what they rightfully deserve – equal pay and equal opportunity!  

Have you been the victim of gender pay discrimination?  Are you making less than the men in your organization who are doing the same job?  Have you overcome a gender pay gap?  Whatever your experience, share your story, it may help other women.  You can share with us on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, or simply leave a comment on this blog.  Use your voice, speak out, ask for what you want!

Need help? Ask Ajna’s mobile app is the career partner for you. Download the iPhone app now.  Android is coming soon.

[credit name=”Dmitry Kalinovsky” nurl=”″ via=”shutterstock” vurl=”” license=”tos” lurl=””]


Passionate advocate for the advancement and empowerment of women. Prior HR exec and co-founder of Ask Ajna - helping women find their voice in the workplace.

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