A recent study concluded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that wage gap between men and women in New Jersey actually got wider in 2012, for a second straight year. The study also showed that that New Jersey’s wage gap is larger than the national average.
Full-time female workers earned 79.4 percent of the weekly pay of their male peers, basically meaning that women earn less than 80 cents for every one dollar a man makes. The national average was slightly higher, with women bringing in 80.9 percent of what their male counterparts made.
The initial reaction may be to assume that the earnings margin of difference is due to lingering discrimination issues. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics warned that its study did not account for things like education level, which can potentially impact earnings. In addition, comparing these numbers across state lines is also problematic, because it does not factor in potential changes in demographics, or the different industries which may be region or state specific. The data also fails to include what men and women earn for the same occupation.
Still, even with potential explanations, the fact that the state’s earnings gap has widened over the past two years by 5.4 percent is significant. Some of it may be due to subtle discrimination and some may be due to the “traditional” occupational fields females pursue. These fields typically include administrative work, nursing and service oriented work, which may command lower salaries than the career paths which men are typically steered toward.
Despite the fact that the gap grew in 2012, the Bureau said that overall, New Jersey’s gender pay gap is shrinking. In 2004, women earned 74.3 percent of what their male counterparts earned. The area with the narrowest gap in the nation in 2012 was Washington D.C., where women earned 94.8 percent of what men did. The largest gap was in Wyoming, where women earned just 65.5 percent of what their male peers earned.
If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination at the work place, you should take action immediately. We invite you to contact our NJ employment law attorneys of Team Law, at 1-800-TEAM-LAW or 732-388-5454 for a free initial consultation.