Gender Pay Gap Narrows for Tech Pros: Study

The gender pay gap, which some studies suggest is closing, might actually be widening.

New data from PayScale shows people who leave their roles for a period of time might disrupt their earnings potential. This doesn’t necessarily impact women exclusively, but those hoping to start families and return to work later on might not earn as much. PayScale says women are “five times more likely” to take sabbaticals of a year or more to raise children.

As PayScale notes: “People who return to work after a period of unemployment make 4 percent less than someone who has not recently had a career disruption. Meanwhile, someone who has not worked in over a year experiences a 7.3 percent penalty in pay.”

The old trope that “women earn 70 cents on the dollar compared to men” isn’t exactly true, but it’s also not far off. The data shows women early in their careers earn 81.8 percent of what a man will, which drops to 76.4 percent for women in their 30s and early 40s. After the age of 45, women earn 69.1 percent what their male counterparts do.

Women also earn fewer promotions than men. From PayScale:

Men and women enter the job market at similar, junior levels. However, women over age 30 are more likely than men to remain in those individual contributor positions. In the age group over 45 years, 59 percent of women are in still individual contributor positions versus 43 percent of men.

In its way, this backs up a Redfin study noting women in positions of power (i.e., at the executive level) helped the pay gap shrink significantly.

Plainly put, this study shows women are often damaged professionally just for being women. But silver linings exist, especially where tech is concerned: The ‘controlled’ pay gap – where women and men hold the same positions – is very slim in tech. The education and technology sectors have the lowest controlled pay gaps at 0.6 and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Dice’s own examinations bolster PayScale’s claim. In a 2016 Salary Survey, we found women in tech were nearly as happy with their pay as men. In an uncontrolled environment, bonuses skewed towards males, who saw about $1,500 more per year; when we controlled our findings, the gaps disappeared.

Three states also pay women more than men, on average: Rhode Island (0.2 percent), Vermont (0.6 percent), and Connecticut (1.6 percent). The District of Columbia (0.5 percent) also shows up in this metric. Other metro areas are likewise helping make pay more equitable.

All told, the gender pay gap is still relevant and alarming. Luckily, tech is a bright spot. While not the completely level playing field most would like to see, liberal policies at many tech companies regarding things like paternal leave and the ability to work remotely ultimately help to close the gap.