Married men, married women, single men, single women – there’s just a little wonder about the earning power of the groups. As research would point out, married men sit on the top of the wage ladder.
This is not masochistically designed to be so. There is a simple explanation.
Married men are not necessarily paid more because they are married. And surely not because they are men. But as Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a research officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, points out, “It might be that men with higher wages are more likely to get married. Men often marry later than women, so there are relatively few married men in their 20s. This explains why the difference in wages is less pronounced earlier in life: The average male worker in his 20s is more likely single than married.”
However, married men earn more than single men and single or married women among people with at least a high school diploma.
Wages increase over time for both men and women, at least up until the age of 50, men and women acquire more experience the longer they stay on a job and, therefore, become more valuable and productive.
At the beginning of any career they choose, the salary difference between men and women is noticeably less pronounced. But with time, married men climb to the top of the ladder.
The change that occurs later in life is succinctly explained by Vandenbroucke. He wrote, “It is tempting to ascribe this latter point to the fact that younger women are more likely to get married, have children, and eventually withdraw from the labor force. Once out of the labor force, these women would not accumulate human capital, and, subsequently, they would lose ground relative to men. This would explain why the difference in wages grows with age.”