By Ursula Nguyen, SWE Graduate Research Intern, Ph.D. candidate in STEM education, UT-Austin
Every spring, the Society of Women Engineers hosts its annual Capitol Hill Day, an opportunity for SWE members and stakeholders to meet with legislators and their staffs to advocate key issues toward creating a more diverse and inclusive STEM workforce. During this year’s event, SWE presented data on the gender gap in mean earnings for engineers across the United States. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, women engineers earn between 77% and 111% of what their male counterparts do. Overall, the average salaries of women engineers in most states are between 80% and 89% of those of men engineers.
As shown in the map below, there are some regional differences. In the majority of western states, including Oregon and Utah, women engineers are close to achieving gender parity in mean earnings or earn more than men engineers. In Nevada, for instance, while women represent only 10% of engineers, they earn, on average, $100,000, while men earn about $91,000. Still, in other western states, such as California and Washington, women earn between 80% and 89% of what men engineers do.
With the exception of North Dakota, the states with the largest gender gaps in mean earnings are located in the Northeast. Women engineers earn approximately 77% of the average salary earned by men engineers in Maine and Rhode Island. Moreover, women also compose about 13% of the engineers in both states.
To illustrate, women engineers in Maine earn, on average, about $70,000, which is far less than what male engineers earn on average ($91,000).
Yet, in North Dakota, women engineers are severely underrepresented, where they make up only 7% of all engineers in the state. Moreover, men engineers earn $89,000, while women engineers’ earnings are only approximately $69,000. Taken together, the data show that women engineers do not receive equal pay, with the exception of a few states, in which they have achieved parity in average earnings. Indeed, progress is needed for women in engineering, not only in terms of representation, but also in the salaries they earn.
To read the Earnings Gap report, please visit SWE’s research site at: https://swe.org/research/2022/earning-gap/