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In High Paying Jobs the Wage Gap Can Cost Women Millions

Julia Carpenter CNN.COM

Becoming a doctor, lawyer or CEO will likely earn you a higher paycheck. But if you're a woman, you may still earn less than your colleagues. A lot less.

Even in high-paying fields, American women still earn less than their male counterparts. And in some cases, the pay gap between men and women is even more pronounced.

Just look at medicine: One survey estimates the average female doctor earns $105,000 less than her male colleague, a gap that's been widening over time. The C-suite is plagued with a similar problem: A 2017 analysis estimated male executives earn millions of dollars more than women. And most recently, a new study reveals that male lawyers can earn 53% more than their female partners.

Less bargaining power and fewer connections

Women who don't negotiate at all are at a disadvantage, especially compared to male counterparts who do. But even those who do ask for more often have less negotiating power than men. In some cases, women can even be penalized for bringing up the issue. Because women are rewarded if they appear likeable or stereotypically feminine, studies show employers may balk when a woman asks for a raise or higher salary.

Compensation in high-paying law firms relies heavily on origination, or "books of business," according to the law study. Because many women have less access to these expensive clients, their overall compensation takes a massive hit.

But the problem doesn't end with law firms.

"It's a bigger issue than just the legal industry," says Jeffrey Lowe, global practice leader of Major, Lindsey & Africa's law firm practice and author of the study on law compensation. "It just seems like no matter what industry you look at, you have these kinds of [gender pay gap] issues."

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