Women, long subjected to an earnings gap with men in full-time work, take home bigger paychecks than their male counterparts in part-time jobs, a government study found.
Women who work part time earn a median of $1.15 for every dollar their male counterparts make, a reverse of the 76 cents on the dollar women earn for full-time work compared with men, according to a study of 2000 data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The numbers reflect the ranks of women who move from full-time to part-time work in their careers to care for children, taking their professional experience with them into more flexible jobs, analysts said. Men with part-time jobs tend to be students or young adults with less experience and earning power.
"More women are choosing [part-time work] not out of necessity but out of choice," said John Challenger, chief executive of job-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Women coming into those jobs are much higher qualified generally."
A quarter of working women work part time, compared with 10% of working men, the study said. And though more than half of male part-time workers are 16 to 24 years old, a third of female part-time workers are that young, according to the report.
There are 29.8 million part-time workers in the U.S., most citing noneconomic reasons such as child-care and family obligations for not working full time, the Labor Department said.
"Women are still the primary caregivers in households, and working part time helps them take care of children or elderly parents while maintaining their skills, instead of leaving the work force for an extended period of time," said Denise Venable, a Women in the Economy Project researcher.
The median earnings of women overall is 76 cents for every $1 for men in the work force, according to the Labor Department. That figure does not take into account education, age or job.