In May 2014 there were 8 million retail salespeople and cashiers working in the US, the two single occupations with the largest employment in the country. At the same time, another 8.3 million people were working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs in the country. Both represent around 6% of the total employment in the US, according to the latest numbers of the Occupational Employment Statistics, released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The difference between these two? The salaries. While the two top retail jobs only pay median salaries of $25,760 for retail salesperson and $20,670 for cashier, STEM jobs have mean wages a lot higher of the all-occupations average in the country, which is $47,230. Among the best paid STEM jobs are petroleum engineers, with $147,520 and physicists, with $117,300.

Let’s show graphically the salary difference between those two groups, in which the same amout of people are making so little in one end, and so much in the other. Let’s talk to experts on what this wage gap represents, too.

James Brown
Executive Director of STEM Education Coalition
(202) 400-2192 (office) /

National Retail Federation
Treacy Reynolds
Media Relations Coordinator
(202) 495-7221

Kathryn L. Shaw
Professor of Economics who has a paper on retail wages at National Bureau of Economic Research.
Graduate School of Business
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
Tel: 650/725-4168
Fax: 650/725-0468