Top 10 roles where women earn more than men

The Office for National Statistics estimates that across all roles surveyed, there was an average of 9.3% difference between men’s salaries and women’s salaries, with men earning this amount more than women per hour. That means for every £1 earned by a man, a woman earns 90.7 pence.



When you extrapolate that and look at the average full-time salary in the UK that means that women take home £32,128 to a man’s £35,423.

However, what the study also highlighted was that for 61 full-time roles (and 115 part-time roles) women take home a higher hourly salary than their male counterparts. Now, whilst this might sound good, it still means that women are only better off than men 14% of the time. These figures are also impacted by the gender split in each industry. In industries where women heavily outnumber men (for example, secretarial work, where women make up 94% of the workforce) it seems unsurprising that women take home more than men (11.3% more, to be precise) because there are fewer data points from men to compare against women.

However, the data also shows that even in industries where women make up a greater percentage of the workforce than men, they’re still being paid less. All of the major occupation groups still sit in men’s favour, regardless of how many women work in them.

So what are the top 10 roles where women earn more than men?

Women working in railways as construction and maintenance operatives (an industry where women make up just 16% of the workforce) take home nearly double what their male counterparts do, earning 48.4% more per hour than a man in the same job. For a full-time position as a railway maintenance operative, women can expect to take home £35,132 (which is above the UK average salary for women, £29,891).

But it’s not just railway workers. Legal secretaries, parking officers, counsellors and dental nurses all saw wages of 20%+ more than a man doing the same role. Which, when we are constantly bombarded with stories of women earning significantly less than their male counterparts, is certainly nice to hear.

Here is a full break down of the top 10 roles where women currently earn more per hour than men doing the exact same role:

Full Time

Job Role % women earn above men
Rail construction and maintenance operatives +48.4%
Legal secretaries +33.9%
Parking and civil enforcement occupations +24.7%
Counsellors +22.7%
Waste disposal and environmental services managers +20.4%
Dental Nurses +15.3%
Human resources administrative occupations +14.2%
Security guards and related occupations +14.1%
Building and civil engineering technicians +13.2%
Elementary security occupations +12.7%


Where do women earn more part time?

Part-time, women can earn up to 66% more than their male counterparts in certain fields.

Archivists and curators (who take home around £14k per year part-time) earn more than 66% more than their male colleagues in the same role. Likewise, a number of roles smash through the 48% seen in the full-time table above, with legal professionals, librarians and HR officers all earning more than 40% more than a man doing the same job.

On top of this, there were more women earning 10%+ than men in the part-time field as well, with 8% of part-time women earning this above their male counterparts.

Part Time

Job Role % women earn above men
Archivists and curators +66.4%
Human resources and industrial relations officers +57%
Librarians and related professionals +54.6%
Legal professionals +43.5%
Public relations professionals +38.6%
Architects +35.4%
Ophthalmic opticians +32.8%
Conference and exhibition managers and organisers +31.1%
Medical and dental technicians +30.4%
Mechanical engineers +28.2%


Is it because there are simply more women than men in these roles?

The ONS figures are certainly affected by factors such as the proportion of men and women working part time or in different occupations. Women hold nearly half (45%) of full-time “professional occupations” – including scientists, engineers and health professionals – yet their hourly earnings are 11% lower, on average, than men. Even in caring and leisure, where women hold 78% of the jobs, the pay gap is 9% in favour of men.

Whilst the employment split was largely unavailable for the first table of full-time roles (the only data the ONS had was that women hold 14% of security jobs) the data is much clearer when we consider the roles covered in the part-time table.

For all the roles listed there, women made up 50% or more of the workforce, with the exception of architecture, where women hold just 29% of those roles.

Job Role % women earn above men % of employees in these roles who are women
Archivists and curators +66.4% Split unavailable
HR & industrial relations officers +57% 68%
Librarians & related professionals +54.6% 69%
Legal professionals +43.5% 53%
Public relations professionals +38.6% 53%
Architects +35.4% 29%
Ophthalmic opticians +32.8% 54%
Conference & exhibition managers and organisers +31.1% 64%
Medical and dental technicians 30.4% 50%
Mechanical engineers 28.2% Split unavailable


Is it only women in senior roles who earn more?

The short answer to this is no. In fact, the more senior a woman is the higher the chance that the pay gap swings away from her favour. Women who works as senior managers, directors and senior officials earn on average 18.4% less than their male counterparts (which is nearly double the national average of 9.3%)

The roles represented above are a cross-section of levels, from engineering technicians to architects, medical professionals to administrators. So you don’t have to be senior in order to take home more than your male counterparts. In fact, women seem to get a better deal if they are somewhere towards the middle of the career ladder.

Does this mean the pay gap is getting smaller?

Sadly not. The pay gap is still a massive issue for women, regardless of their industry, level and skill set.

Whilst these roles are certainly the exception, rather than the rule, it’s good for women to know that there are exceptions to the rule – especially in female dominated industries and professions.

Sophie Austin is content editor of, part of the Educations Media Group.

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