The Tech Industry Gender Pay Gap: Differences Across Career Stages

By Roberta Attanasio, Forever Leaders Editor

April 4—Equal Pay Day—is the symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap.  Here are some worrisome facts (and a few good news) provided by the National Committee on Pay Equity as of April 4, 2017:

“While the gender wage gap has narrowed, it has not changed statistically in the last year, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 13, 2016.  Based on the median earnings of all full-time, year-round workers in 2015, women now make 79.6 cents for every dollar men make, a change from 78.6 cents the previous year. Women’s earnings in 2015 were $40,742, while men’s were $51,212.  Rounding off the figures shows women’s earnings now at 80 percent of men’s, compared to 79 percent last year.

Image credit: Mike Licht, CC BY 2.0

The earnings of women of color increased in actual dollars and in comparison to all men.  African American women’s earnings went from $33,533 to $36,203, rising from 66.6 to 70.6 percent of all men’s earnings.  Hispanic women’s median earnings rose from $30,293 to $31,109 and from 60.1 to 60.7 percent of all men’s earnings. The biggest increase was in the earnings of Asian American women, going from $46,334 to $48,471 and from 91.9 to 94.6 percent of all men’s earnings.

A 2016 guide to the gender wage gap shows the gap increasing as women earn more.  The loss in lifetime earnings is $530,000 for the average woman and $800,000 for college-educated women. About 30 percent of the narrowing of the wage gap since 1979 was caused by the decline in men’s wages.”

One of the industries known to be riddled with gender gap issues is the tech industry.  Now, a new study on tech companies.  “2017 Women, Work, and the State of Age Inequality“, carried out by Hired, a jobs marketplace for tech workers, shows that 63% of the time women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company.

Furthermore, women ask 4% less than men on average.  However, on a more positive note, results show that the situation is different for women at early career stages.  Indeed, female candidates with four years of work experience or less ask for more money than their male counterparts—and they get it.  Women with less than one year of experience ask for about 4% more money than men, and are ultimately offered an average of 8% more.  The wage gap starts to appear for candidates with more than six years of experience.

The study also found that white men are offered the highest salaries, and black women are offered the lowest salaries.  Overall, males of all races receive higher salary offers than women, with one exception—white women are offered two percent more than black men.  In addition, results show that non-LGBTQ men outearn all other categories, followed by LGBTQ men, non-LGBTQ women and finally, LGBTQ women.

What may cause this gender pay gap?  Most likely a combination of unconscious bias during the interview process, and compensation policies that determine a candidate’s salary based on what he or she was previously earning.  The effects of gender bias also influence access to opportunity—53% of the time, companies interview only male candidates for a given role, whereas they interview only women just 6% of the time.

The study aims to empower companies and job candidates to close the gap.  The hope is that the tech industry will revise compensation policies, while job candidates will be empowered by the data-based information they need to ask for a salary that reflects their market value.

Copyright © 2016-2018 Forever Leaders.

12 comments

  1. I’m happy to learn that the gender wage gap is narrowing, however, it is disheartening to hear of the lifetime earnings loss in women. $800,000 is no small number by any means. How would anyone that is college-educated feel, men included, to be slighted $800,000 in their lifetime? We seek higher education in hopes of making a better life for ourselves, yet are still slighted.

    Moreover, it’s interesting to find out that women with less experience ask for more money than men and are offered more money. They spoke of how the “wage gap starts to appear for candidates with more than six years of experience.” My question is, why is the case? Are the experiences of men more valuable than that of women, which is why they are paid more? It’s still controversial but I think it’s because men are still seen as the “breadwinners.” I feel that part of the problem is it’s basically ingrained in society that men should make more. How can society unlearn this?

    • I feel as if males are still allowed to make more than and equally qualified female colleagues because at one point in time that was the norm, and everyone knew it. Just like how you mentioned men were known to be the breadwinners, and women only worked jobs while men were fighting in wars. With the country becoming more progressive as the years have gone by, the pay gap is something that has remained in the minds of some and must be publicly brought to attention to be able to be resolved. More people have to speak on the topic and bring it to light, even if it makes for an uncomfortable situation. I do believe that when this current generation begins to dominate the workforce, the sexist ideas of the 20th century will be a thing of the past.

    • I want to add to what both of you have said, NaKiera and Alfred. Going off of what Alfred said “I feel as if males are still allowed to make more than and equally qualified female colleagues because at one point in time that was the norm, and everyone knew it.” I think this is the exact root of the problem. In older times, it was rare to see a woman not married to a man because women were married off young. These women also did not have jobs and did all of the house chores including raising the children. It wasn’t until the war took men out of the homes when women had to find jobs to help with the house income and the demands of the war. But even then, when the war ended and the men returned, the roles found themselves back to where they were.

      But today, it is rare for women to be married off at a young age, and divorce rates are higher than ever. Women are finding themselves raising children alone and having to be the only breadwinners of the home. But the progress of the wage gap is still lagging and I believe that as time go on, the past memories and customs will get smaller as well as the wage gap.

    • I found the statistics in this article to be very interesting. Reading that the wage gap starts with candidates who have 6 or more years of experience caused me to question if this could be related to women not progressing to higher positions throughout their careers. It is a point that Lean In made note of several times, and I just wonder if this 6 year mark could be when career progression really begins for many men.

    • I agree with what Alfred stated above. Women are becoming more dominant and predominate in our workforce and in society. As you can see from the statistics, the value that women are earning are steadily increasing. In our present-day society, more women are graduation from colleges and universities at greater numbers than men. I believe in the future the ideas of adversity of women in the workforce will know longer be a spoken issue. I believe women have the ability to dominate the workforce in the future as well

  2. I feel like we have been fighting for decades to finally get equal pay. It’s bit disappointing to see that the pay has barely increased at all and there is still a huge gap between how much an african american women makes versus a Caucasian male. If men and women have the same qualifications, it’s not acceptable to give them both different salaries unless one is working harder than the other.

    I do think that women are less hesitant to ask for a raise compared to men. This could be due to many things, but I feel like a major one is being afraid they will lose their job or won’t get the job at all. I also feel like companies prefer men over women because women are portrayed to automatically take on all the responsibilities of having a family. However, I do believe times have changed and taking care of a family is a responsibility for both the mother and father.

    • Krishna,

      I agree that the wage gap between African American women and Caucasian males is disappointing. As an African American female myself, I was surprised and saddened when I read that we make the least overall. I doubt this is due to being under-qualified and I think that is is fair to blame it on bias both implicit and explicit.

      I also agree that women being hesitant to ask for more money is a part of the reason for the gap and that they may gold off in fear of losing their jobs.

  3. In the 2017, the idea of a man making more money than a woman when the two are equally experienced and qualified would seem nonexistent. However, the gender pay cap is still very well in existence. When reading this article, what stood out to me the most was that at one point in time, Hispanic women were only being paid for sixty percent of a man’s earnings for the same job. How could it be that such blatant discrepancies in pay exist? Although the data may exist, I feel as if some companies choose to hide the facts just to simply save money. If a qualified woman does not speak up for her pay, she will not be given her rightful earrings. No one should have to speak up and make demands for what they are entitled to, but a remedy to this problem is to have more people, both men and women, speak up on the issue. Leaders in the businesses and corporations where the pay inequality exists should take responsibility and make sure that all of the employees are compensated equally.

  4. The gender wage gap and ethnicity wage gap are two things that have never made sense to me. I don’t understand why different people with potentially the same qualifications are being compensated so differently. I am aware that men often negotiate more than women, but do Asian women negotiate more than other ethnicities? I think that many subconscious come into play.

    Women with less than four years of work experience asking for more money than men is new knowledge to me. What happens later in life that makes them stop asking? I agree with Nakiera that $800,000 is no small amount. That is a substantial amount of money. Women should be educated in the art of negotiating and employers should seek to fairly compensate all employees.

  5. We have come a long way when it comes to women’s Rights and gender equality, but our work is nowhere close to being done. We are only getting started, and we have a long way to go because gender bias still exists. One such field where gender bias is prominent is industries and corporations. Women are receiving lower wages than their male counterparts in the same area. The article includes a lot of revealing data about how stagnant a women’s salary is compared to men and wages are growing at a very slow rate.
    We need to educate women of this existing bias that they will face once they are ready to enter the workforce, so they are better equipped for what is coming their way. We need to teach young women to negotiate their salaries and benefits confidentially. My mother always told me that in the future I must stand up for myself. She taught me that if I want something, then I should ask for it because my employer will not know what I want. As a woman, I think that I should be confident enough to negotiate a salary.

    • I completely agree with your post Vaidehi! I like how your mom would always tell you to stand up for yourself! That is great advice for young women to know at an early age. One thing I would ask you is when you said: “we should educate women of this existing bias.” How would we educate woman? Should we also educate men too? And at what age do you think is the best to let women know about this issue.

  6. As eloquently stated by NaKiera, “We seek higher education in hopes of making a better life for ourselves, yet are still slighted.’” In other words, the struggles and perseverance of obtaining a college degree are real and no small endeavor. Moreover, if after putting in the work required you learn there is no reward, it can be very discouraging. I hope this article jumpstarts a crucial conversation about the ongoing disparities in salaries between genders and the races in the tech industry. As a Computer Science major, I am very aware of the male-dominated field that I will be entering; as such, I hope that articles like this help create a meaningful dialogue that facilitates future equal compensation for job performance that is comparable to my male peers.

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