KILLEEN, TEXAS — The pay gap between men and women is getting smaller in Killeen. According to a recent study by SmartAsset, Killeen ranked seventh among the 200 largest cities in the U.S. — leading the nation toward closing the gap.
“As long as we make sure women have the opportunity to pursue the field of their choice — healthcare, professional, scientific and technical — those are always high paying jobs. I think we can see the trend continues," said Workforce Solutions of Central Texas Director of Industry and Education Partnerships, Charley Ayres.
The study shows from 2017 to 2021, the gender wage gap in Killeen shortened by 9.09%. Women’s earnings rose up by 26.52% during the same timeframe, according to the study.
“Whether it be retail, service industry, working in the hospital, being in the military — those type of jobs typically have uniform pricing," said Texas A&M Central Texas Interim Department Chair of Finance Accounting and Economics, Robert Tennant.
Experts say the change in pay for women might be due to a number of factors — including education.
“In Central Texas, there are more women in the workforce with bachelor's degrees than there are men. That education factor may have an impact on wages earned at the end of the day," Ayres said.
Local experts say the numbers can be linked two of the largest growing areas in Killeen-Temple Metro area, government and healthcare. They also say there’s still a growing need for more women and men in healthcare industry.
“People figured out how hard we really worked during the pandemic. So many people left and the number of people entering the profession have slowed down. Institutions are really working hard to reward us for what we do," said Texas A&M University-Central Department of Nursing Director & Chair, Amy Mersiovsky.
Experts also say there’s a need for healthcare teachers to train new professionals as well.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found as recently as 2021 that women earned an average of 83 cents less than men. Over a four-year span, the gender wage gap has shrunk by more than 10 cents to the dollar in 16 of the nation’s largest cities, according to a study by SmartAsset.
Women’s earnings in Killeen make up 94.23% of men’s earnings, which is a difference of about $2,440 annually.