Closing The Gap

These 10 jobs have the largest and smallest pay gaps between men and women

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Ramin Talaie / Contributor | Getty Images

Wall Street has a long way to go to close its pay gap — but it's not alone.

Of the 10 occupations with the largest pay gap between men and women, four are in the finance industry. That's according to a new report from financial technology company SmartAsset.

SmartAsset analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2017 that breaks down the median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salaried workers by occupation and gender.

Here is a list of the 10 jobs in the U.S. with the largest pay gap:

Each of the jobs listed here has at least 50,000 employees of each gender, and SmartAsset excluded BLS occupational listings that include the phrase "all other," as they can include workers from several occupations and don't present a clear picture of employee pay.

The median weekly earning for male financial advisors is $1,662, while female financial advisors make a weekly median of only $979, meaning women bring home 58.9 percent of what their male counterparts in this role do.

The occupation with the second largest pay gap is administrative services managers. In this role men make a median $1,629 per week, and women make $1,013.

There are two occupations in which women outearn men. Male dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers (as categorized by the BLS) make a median of $444 per week, while women's median earnings are $481. Female wholesale and retail buyers make a median of $888, while men make a median of $882.

Using the same methodology, SmartAsset also calculated the occupations with the smallest pay gap. Here are the 10 jobs in the U.S. with the smallest pay gap:

This ranking highlights the occupations in which men and women's earnings have the smallest gap. So while female wholesale and retail buyers outearn their male counterparts, their gap is larger than that between licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, landing buyers second on the list.

Five of the 10 jobs in which men and women have the smallest pay gap involve care-taking: licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, counselors, special education teachers, physical therapists, and social workers.

A separate report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, which also analyzed BLS occupational pay data, notes that care-taking jobs are both low-paying and generally held by women.

"While low-wage work can be found across the economy, it is particularly prevalent in jobs that involve the education and care of children, the elderl, and the infirm, work that traditionally was done by women at home, and often continues to be done almost exclusively by women when it is paid," the report says. "Many of these jobs are low-paid, even though workers are expected to have at least a high school diploma and some post-secondary certificates."

What's behind occupational pay gaps

Men tend to make more in finance careers because of the legacy of male dominance in the finance industry, says Ariane Hegewisch, the Program Director for Employment and Earnings at the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Women's Policy Research, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank working to promote women's issues.

"One thing does not tend to fluctuate: Financial advisors consistently have the widest gap among all occupations," Hegewisch tells CNBC Make It. "The old boys' club continues to hold sway in many parts of the industry. This means women and people of color find it much harder to work with the wealthiest clients (and reap the highest commissions)."

Deborah Vagins, senior vice president of public policy and research at the American Association of University Women, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing equity for women and girls, notes that gender pay disparity depends on whether everyone in the position is paid the same, or whether compensation is more varied.

Frequently, this means the pay gap is larger in higher paying jobs.

"In minimum and lower-wage occupations, predominantly held by women, the narrow pay scales may mean that everyone is getting around the same low pay, although pay gaps between men and women still exist in these fields," Vagins tells CNBC Make It. "But in higher-wage occupations, the sky is often the limit for compensation, especially with commissions, bonuses, or promotions that also are disproportionately awarded to men."

"Women in finance still face a glass ceiling with respect to pay and promotions. That means a larger percentage pay gap opens up between men and women in the higher-paying occupations," Vagins says. "So not only is it true that that finance occupations tend to pay well and many care-giving occupations pay poorly — women face discrimination at both ends of the pay spectrum."

Think you're underpaid? Here's what to do

For women who believe they're earning less than their male counterparts for the same work, there are arguments you can make for a raise.

Salary comparison site Glassdoor recommends you first do your research to learn the competitive range for the job you have. The site offers an online tool that which compiles current job title, base salary, employer, work location, industry, typical job transitions, years of relevant experience and current state of the local job market to come up with salary guidance.

Once you've researched the salary range for your occupation, be ready to defend your case for a higher salary with your current or potential employer. Glassdoor recommends having specific examples prepared to show ways you have contributed meaningfully at work. Expect a negotiation phase where you go back and forth with your employer.

Timing is also important. Look for the right opportunity to ask for a raise. If there is a new job within the company or a promotion you are seeking, that's a good opportunity to negotiate a higher salary, Glassdoor recommends. Time your ask for when your company is in a strong financial position and your boss is pleased with your work.

And when you are asking for a raise, be sure you know what your boss' goals are and explain how you are going to help your boss achieve those goals.

Finally, don't stop pushing for a raise if you hear "no." Ask for feedback. If there are things you need to do to improve at work according to your boss, then work on improving in those areas. Establish a timeline with your boss and agree upon a date when you can follow back up about a raise.

And finally, says Glassdoor, stay "positive and goal-focused," even if you don't get the raise you're looking for the first time.

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