Team NEO Studies How Women Are Progressing in the Workforce

Report examines how higher wages, education, and STEM growth are key to women’s economic vibrancy

Team NEO released the second edition of its Lost Opportunities report to gain insights on how and why gender inequity is contributing to talent gaps throughout the Northeast Ohio Region.

Lost Opportunities is a supplement to Team NEO’s annual Aligning Opportunities report, which provides a clear assessment of in-demand jobs, the availability of trained workers to meet demand and a picture of what skills and training our workforce needs to fill them. Lost Opportunities complements Team NEO’s Misaligned Opportunities report, a supplement that takes a deeper look at racial equity as it relates to labor force opportunities.

This year’s Lost Opportunities report uses national and regional data to illustrate wage disparities, not only from a men-women perspective but also in the lens of age cohorts. Further, Team NEO researches the labor force participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs that lead to higher wages than non-STEM jobs.  

Key highlights of Lost Opportunities include:

  • Women earned 23% less than men across the board, and this wage gap persists despite high levels of education attainment, as revealed by the 2021 Lost Opportunities report.
  • Pew Research Center data show that younger women are achieving more parity of wages with male peers than other age groups, narrowing the gender wage gap. Despite this progress, the wage gap still seems to increase with age.
  • For the decade leading up to 2020, women 35-to 44-years old held the highest average annual increase compared to other ages. In 2018, they surpassed the average pay of women 45 years+ for the first time.
  • Women are still vastly underrepresented in Northeast Ohio’s STEM workforce, holding only 24% of positions. 

“These insights enhance our understanding of barriers Northeast Ohio’s female workers experience in accessing the education and training for in-demand jobs,” said Bill Koehler, Team NEO CEO. “We hope this report advances conversations on creative solutions to retain and attract female candidates, so we have more robust and equitable participation in the workforce.”

The insights from this report and the Misaligned Opportunities report, will be socialized at an event on August 18 at Corporate College East, featuring a fireside chat with new presidents of Cleveland State University and  Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C©). Dr. Michael Baston, President: Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C©) and Dr. Laura Bloomberg, President: Cleveland State University will share their perspectives on the Northeast Ohio Region’s workforce strategies, discuss opportunities for the future, and provide insights on challenges and solutions in their experience with women and minority students.

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18 counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy –  one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient and prosperous. For more information, visit