It’s official: The gender wage gap still exists, even for
Millennials. According to a recent report by the Institute for Women’s
Policy Research, female Millennials are making less than their male
counterparts in all but one state. In the U.S., from 2011 to 2013, the median
annual salary for Millennial women, defined here as those between the ages of 16 to 34 in
2013, was $31,069, while men in the same group earned $35,000 — meaning women earned 89 cents for every dollar earned by men.
The good news? Although they are coming of age in a difficult
work environment — on average, Millennials have more student loan debt and a
higher unemployment rate than the rest of the country — they appear to
be slowly closing the wage gap overall, which for women and men of all ages in
the U.S. is 78 cents on the dollar.
“Part of what is really driving the wage gap down in this
generation is that Millennial women are far more likely than Millennial men to
have a college degree,” says Jessica Milli, a senior research associate at
IWPR. The report showed that the only state where Millennial women actually earned more than
their male counterparts was New York, one of the states where they are most
likely to have a bachelor’s degree. In NY, Millennial women earned a median salary of $38,319 compared to males, who earned $37,542.
But, out-earning men when it comes to college degrees won’t
take care of the whole wage gap. For that, we need women to achieve parity in
employment in the higher-paying jobs, like the STEM fields, for example, which traditionally attract fewer females.
The report points out that Millennial women have made gains in one important area:
managerial and professional occupations (which include high-earning job titles
like CEOs and doctors). According to the study, 25% of Millennial men are employed in these types
of jobs, compared to 34% of women of the same group. “The fact that we’re getting
women into these higher-paying fields definitely indicates progress on that
score,” says Milli. “Obviously, we’re still not at pay equity, but we’re
Of course there’s one other thing that could affect Millennials
and pay equity down the line: parenthood. “This trend is very encouraging, but
this generation is still really young, and we’re not sure what’s going to
happen when they start having children,” says Milli. “The data shows that’s
when the earnings really begin to diverge.” So, we’ve got that to look forward to.
Want to know how your state stacks up on wage equality for Millennials?
Check out the chart below.