The 2011 top earning jobs for women

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For the third consecutive year Forbes has compiled its annual list of the best-paying jobs for women, putting the spotlight on the occupations where women can, and do, earn the most - and HR managers came in at number 10.

The list was compiled using US data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and based on the median weekly earnings of full-time workers in 2010. Forbes discovered that the technology and health care sectors were the top earning industries.

It was noted that women still earn an average of 81.2% as much as men and remain concentrated in unskilled sectors, such as administrative assistants, cashiers and retail workers.

Francine Blau, a professor of labor economics at Cornell University, said she believes the gender pay gap may be higher among doctors and chief executives due to factors like specialty type, self-employment, industry and firm size.

She commented that while these occupations feature a wider range of pay, if men earn more of the outlying, mega salaries, it could bring the male median up.

Blau cited continued discrimination as a factor in the pay divide, and told Forbes, “Not only are women less likely to make it to those upper ranges [of a profession] because of promotion gaps, when they do get there they are less likely to be paid fairly.”

The top 10 earning jobs for women in 2011 were:

(Values represented in US$)

No. 10: Human Resources Managers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,170
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $60,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 71%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 80%
  • Last year's position: dropped off

No. 9: Computer Programmers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,177
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $61,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 22%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 95%
  • Last year's position: No. 7

No. 8: Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,184
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $61,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 97%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: unavailable
  • Last year's position: dropped off

No. 7: Physical Therapists

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,208
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $63,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 62%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: unavailable
  • Last year's position: new this year

No. 6: Computer and Information Systems Managers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,415
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $73,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 30%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 82%
  • Last year's position: No. 4

No. 5: Computer Software Engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,445
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $75,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 21%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 91%
  • Last year's position: No. 5

No. 4: Lawyers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,461
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $76,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 35%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 77%
  • Last year's position: No. 3

No. 3: Chief Executives

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,598
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $83,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 26%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 72%
  • Last year's position: No. 1

No. 2: Pharmacists

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,605
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $83,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 48%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 83%
  • Last year's position: No. 2

No. 1: Physicians and Surgeons

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,618
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $84,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 31%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 71%
  • Last year's position: No. 6

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