Interpersonal skills are being more and more valued.
Sean Gallup — Getty Images
By Madeline Farber
March 22, 2017

Women are gaining ground in historically male-dominated fields—thanks in part to their interpersonal skills, new research has found.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cites a new working paper by three economists, certain high-paying occupations—including doctor, software engineer, and financial adviser—have begun requiring more interpersonal skills like collaboration, empathy, and managing others. To provide evidence that women tend to have more sophisticated interpersonal skills like empathy and collaboration, the economists cited research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience in their paper, the Journal reports.

“That’s been favoring women in high-paying jobs,” Henry Siu, one of the study’s authors and a professor at the University of British Columbia, told the Journal.

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The overall trend isn’t new: From 1980 to 2000, women saw gains in high-paying fields, and while those gains slowed from 2000 to 2014, women still out-performed men, who saw their opportunities for highly paid work decline during those years, the Journal reports.

Though this is good news for women, there’s still a major issue remaining: the wage gap. Women are at a disadvantage when it comes to salary, Siu told the Journal. At its current rate, the gap may take at least 70 years to close. And women’s salaries as personal finance advisers, physicians and surgeons, financial mangers and more still trail those of men.

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