Little pink (collar) pills: Pharmacists top list of best-paying jobs for women

Being a pharmacist can pay off for women, according to a Forbes ranking of the best-paying jobs for women. Female pharmacists earn a median salary of around $86,000 a year, topping the list of the jobs that pay women the most money. About half of all U.S. pharmacists are women, who earn about 85% of what men in their profession are paid.

Forbes looked at a 2008 analysis from the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau to come up with the jobs ranking. The report also showed that women make up 46.5% of the U.S. labor force, and that a third of women worked in management, professional and related occupations.

Also, 3.5 million women are in the highest pay bracket, which means they earn a minimum of $1,500 per week. That compares with 10 million men who earn salaries in the highest pay bracket. Fewer women are at the top pay level because some of the jobs commonly held by women don't pay as much, such grade school teachers, administrative assistants and nurses.

Here is the Forbes list of the top 10 paying jobs for women and the median annual earnings:

  1. Pharmacists - $85,400
  2. Chief executives - $83,356
  3. Lawyers - $78,648
  4. Computer software engineers - $70,252
  5. Computer and information systems managers - $65,520
  6. Physicians and surgeons - $63,960
  7. Management analysts - $59,228
  8. Human resource managers - $59,124
  9. Speech-language pathologists - $58,448
  10. Computer scientists and systems analysts - $56,264.

The fact that women who are physicians and surgeons are only number six on this list and earn a median salary of $63,960 (59% of what male physicians earn) is one of the biggest surprises. Many people have the impression that doctors earn big bucks whether they are male or female. The average pay for female doctors was attributed to the fact that many women work in family practice or other lower-paying specialties. Whereas men are more likely to work as surgeons, which pays more but also may require them to work about 80 hours a week.

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