Six-figure jobs where the pay gap is best and worst

Ladies, if you want a high-paying career where you can earn as much as a man, consider engineering, economics or medicine.

Although a yawning pay gap persists -- median earnings for women remain about 25 percent lower than median earnings for men, according to the latest American Community Survey -- the differential varies dramatically by profession. With a handful of jobs, including some that pay well, the gap is negligible.

Indeed, architectural engineering managers earn median pay of $130,000 annually, regardless of their gender. Admittedly, however, men outnumber women in this field by a wide margin. Women made up slightly less than 9 percent of the 144,812 architectural engineers in the government's 2016 ACS, the most recent detailed data available for jobs and wages.

Women economists earn median wages of $103,723 -- just 8 percent shy of the $111,514 median pay for male economists. About 30 percent of economists are women, according to Census Bureau data.

Women who happen to have the skills to be computer network architects are likely to earn more than their male counterparts. Women in this field earn median wages of $100,471 vs. $98,123 for men.

Women pharmacists, who account for the majority of jobs in this profession, earn $118,461 -- just 3 percent less than the $122,351 median pay of male pharmacists.

Unfortunately, the pay gap is wider with most other six-figure professions. Indeed, it's so vast in some cases that it drops women out of the six-figure club altogether.

Consider judges and magistrates, a profession with median earnings of $102,861. Though women fill nearly 44 percent of these roles, they earn a whopping 55 percent less than their male colleagues. The median income for males: $125,071. For females, just $80,807.

This noteworthy gap is pervasive in the legal profession. In the "all legal occupations" category, the median pay of males is $121,654, but the median pay of women is $65,014 -- an astounding 87 percent less. Among lawyers, women earn $102,484, and men earn $136,043, a 33 percent gender gap.

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It's worth noting that the way the government describes the pay gap tends to understate how underpaid women actually are. That's because the Census Bureau reports women's wages as a percentage of men's. Thus, the median female magistrate's pay is presented as being nearly 65 percent of the male magistrate's pay ($80,807/$125,071 = 64.6 percent).  

But if you look at pay from a woman's perspective, you'll see that this $44,264 gap amounts to 55 percent of her pay. Put another way, she would need a 55 percent raise to catch up.  

Other highly paid professions where the gap is yawning:

  • Personal financial advisers: Men earn median pay of $101,634, and women earn $69,479. Raise needed to close the gap: 46 percent
  • Natural sciences managers: $111,817 for men; $76,768 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 46 percent
  • Financial managers: $100,505 for men; $62,089 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 62 percent
  • Marketing and sales managers: $100,137 for men; $69,079 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 45 percent
  • Chief executives: $141,108 for men; $103,564 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 36 percent
  • Actuaries: $125,465 for men; $92,500 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 36 percent
  • Dentists: $158,810 for men; $115,472 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 38 percent
  • Physicians and surgeons: $231,420 for men; $166,388 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 39 percent
  • Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents: $115,432 for men; $58,726 for women. Raise needed to close the gap: 97 percent.