Jessica Schieder joined EPI in 2015. As a research assistant, she supports the research of EPI’s economists on topics such as the labor market, wage trends, executive compensation, and inequality. Prior to joining EPI, Jessica worked at the Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) as a revenue and spending policies analyst, where she examined how budget and tax policy decisions impact working families.
B.S., International Political Economy, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
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A full menu of work–family policies ranging from paid family leave to affordable child care could go a long way in making it easier for women with children to enter or stay in the labor force.
As we stand together this week in solidarity with women of all backgrounds, it is crucial to remember that women, on average, face a pay penalty compared to men.
Working women are paid less than working men. A large body of research accounts for, diagnoses, and investigates this “gender pay gap.” But this literature often becomes unwieldy for lay readers, and because pay gaps are political topics, ideological agendas often seep quickly into discussions.
The official poverty rate fell by 1.3 percentage points from 2014 to 2015, as annual earnings and household incomes rose significantly for the first time since 2007.
Key numbers from today’s new Census reports, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015. All dollar values are adjusted for inflation (2015 dollars).
The compensation of the CEOs of the largest firms has grown much faster than stock prices, corporate profits and the wages of the top 0.1 percent.
Serious attempts to understand the gender wage gap should not include shifting the blame to women for not earning more. Rather, these attempts should examine where our economy provides unequal opportunities for women at every point of their education, training, and career choices.
CEO compensation in the largest firms dipped temporarily in 2015 and remains 940.9 percent above its 1978 level. This growth in CEO compensation far exceeded the growth of the stock market, which grew forty-two percent less (up 542.9 percent).
In 2015, CEOs in America’s largest firms made an average of $15.5 million—276 times the annual average pay of the typical worker. While the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio is down from 302-to-1 in 2014, the drop reflects a dip in the stock market, meaning CEO pay will rise once the stock market resumes. And the fact that CEO pay is growing a lot faster than profits, the pay of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, and the wages of college graduates means that CEOs are getting more because of their power, not because they are more productive, or have special talent, or more education.
As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015.
Ambitious investments in high quality child care can narrow the gender wage gap and help boost the economy by increasing women’s labor force participation.