The Atlanta area jobs that pay best have biggest gender income gaps

Dec 11, 2017
The gender gap in pay depends on the job and industry. In Atlanta, the largest gaps are in relatively affluent counties with high-paying jobs.

The better a profession pays, the bigger the income gap between men and women.

At least that’s the case in the metro area, according to data provided by Pansop and calculations by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A crunching of the data for the region shows that the most significant income gaps exist between men and women who work in occupations that pay higher than average.

That discrepancy is proportionally widest in Fayette County, where women receive barely half of the income men do. Women in Forsyth and Coweta counties fare only slightly better. Those three counties have the highest median pay for men in metro Atlanta.

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Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into the next year a woman has to work to make as much as a man did the previous year.

Men and women salaries’ are most closely aligned in Rockdale, DeKalb and Clayton. Those are the counties with jobs that pay the lowest in the region.

Pansop, a New York firm trying to make a name – and a business — for calculating “big data,” ranked and compared the pay for full-time work using Census Bureau numbers for counties in Georgia.

Pansop showed the dollar figure difference between the median pay for men and women.

That information was provided to the AJC, which did further calculations to find the ratio of median pay between the genders.

Economist Elise Gould, who has studied gender pay issues for the Economics Policy Institute, said pay comparisons are not usually done county to county, so the findings are “an unusual cut of the data.”

While unable to confirm all the numbers, she said the conclusions are consistent with what experts have seen nationally.

“If you are higher up the pay scale, the gap is larger – percentage-wise,” she said. “When men are making less, you see some off the highest ratios for women.”

In metro Atlanta, the median pay for women does not match a man’s median in any county. But it is above 80 percent of a man’s pay in three counties: Rockdale, DeKalb and Clayton – where a woman’s median pay is 86 percent of a man’s.

“I think, overall, these figures seem to confirm the conclusion that there is a sizable wage gap wherever you look in Georgia.”

Through the entire state, median pay for women is 68 percent of median for men, according to Pansop.

Different data show different numbers, but parallel conclusions.

For example, using Census data from 2015, DataUSA lists the average – not median – male salary in in Forsyth as $94,556, more than 1.6 times as much as the average female salary. The online data collector lists the most common jobs in Forsyth as management, sales and administrative, but also says a fair number of residents are in technology.

DataUSA shows the gap looming large in the higher paid jobs: Male software developers in the county average $112,618 in pay compared to women’s $81,083.

The gap shrinks in the more modestly compensated jobs: a male teacher in middle or elementary school averages higher pay than a woman, but only 1.2 times as much – $56,404 to $48,403.

Gould cautioned that many households have more than one paycheck. Different areas also have dramatically different costs of housing and commuting.

“So, this doesn’t say anything about household economics,” she said.

Comparing median full-time pay locally, a woman makes this percentage of what a man does

Fayette, 53.4 percent

Forsyth, 53.5 percent

Coweta, 54.6 percent

Paulding, 56 percent

Cherokee, 59.9 percent

Fulton, 65 percent

Cobb, 70.4 percent

Gwinnett, 73 percent

Henry, 73.2 percent

Rockdale, 81.2 percent

DeKalb, 82.8 percent

Clayton, 85.8 percent

Sources: Pansop, Census Bureau, staff research

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AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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