Wage Inequality in Tech
Between the US Women’s World Cup and the upcoming election season, equal pay is getting a lot of media attention right now. A data-driven report released by Hired shows the wage gap in tech is narrowing, but there’s still a long way to go before wage inequality is a thing of the past. The national average shows women were offered 3% less than men for the same job at the same company in the first half of 2019, down from 4% in 2017 and 2018. However, the statistics change drastically depending on geography – of top tech cities in the U.S., San Francisco has the smallest wage gap at 6%, while Boston has the largest at 9%. The rise of equal pay policies and salary privacy bills will keep shifting these dynamics, and the long-term effects will no doubt be the subject of many research studies as the landscape continues to change.
In 2017 and 2018, data showed that men were offered higher salaries than women in 63% of job offers. This percentage has dropped to 60% so far in 2019. Unfortunately, of the 61% of women who learned they were being paid less than their male counterparts, 16% discovered the difference was at least $20K annually. Research is starting to show that initial salary expectations play a big role in the wage gap – women typically ask for less during the hiring process. 2019 data indicates women are currently asking for 4% less, on average, than men who interview for comparable roles. Men and women in tech ask for a higher salary during offer negotiations at almost the same rate, but 7% more men report actually receiving the higher pay.
Examining the impact of race on salary expectations and offers widens the gap even further. Rounding to the nearest cent on the dollar, white and Asian women average $0.97 for every dollar white and Asian men are paid. The numbers drop dramatically for black and Hispanic women, who earn $0.89 and $0.91, respectively, for every dollar earned by white and Asian men. The good news? Employees and employers across the country are becoming more aware of the racial wage gap, and diversity initiatives are being expanded to better address pay inequity associated with racial identity.
Age is another component: women between 20 and 30 years old earn $0.97 per dollar made by men in similar roles, but the gap widens to $0.95 for women ages 31 and 35, $0.94 for women ages 36 and 40, $0.93 for women ages 41 to 45, and $0.87 for women ages 46 and 50. One hopeful finding is that the wage gap has decreased for almost all age groups since 2018 – if the trend continues, we’ll be in that much better shape by 2020.
More Women in Tech
Thanks in large part to the recent focus on encouraging girls and women to explore careers in STEM fields, more women than ever are applying for technical roles. Many companies have enacted diversity programs to reach applicants with a variety of backgrounds, which in turn makes them more attractive employers to prospective candidates. However, the data shows female applicants still get fewer interviews than comparable male applicants. Hired found that the particular field under the tech umbrella matters as well. For example, design and product management are much closer to achieving gender parity than software engineering, DevOps, and data analytics. Women in entry-level project management roles actually make higher starting salaries than men in the same role by up to 5%. This is rare, though – male candidates make 7% more in entry-level design roles and 12% more in DevOps.
How do we counteract this? Studies show companies that make their internal salary data publicly available position themselves as more desirable employers than those who keep pay data under wraps. Wage transparency helps people of all genders to understand what their market worth is and be able to enter salary negotiations with the correct information. When you’re pursuing a new role, use tools like Glassdoor, Hired, and LinkedIn Salary to research average salaries for similar roles so you can develop accurate salary expectations. Consulting your professional network is another way to gain insight into the market value of your skills, and get a perspective check if you’re aiming too low or too high with your desired salary.
On that note…
Our sixth annual Women in Technology Event is on Tuesday, October 15th. Year after year, we see women from a variety of backgrounds make lasting, mutually supportive professional connections at WIT. This year’s theme is “Seeing Past Bias” – we hope to shine a light on the prevalence of unconscious biases, and learn strategies to help lessen their impact on our professional and personal lives. We are excited to welcome Leslie Witham, Director of Technology and Innovation at GYK Antler, as our Keynote Speaker.
RSVP for #WIT2019 early to make sure you get a spot – we SOLD OUT last year! Thank you to our co-sponsors, BDS Insight/Bad Ass & Bold and the Diversity Workforce Coalition. See you on October 15th!