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."