Pay Gap for Women in Technology Persists, Despite Progress

A new report suggests that the gender pay gap in tech is beginning to close, although much work remains to be done.

According to that report, by Hired, male technologists “were offered higher salaries than women for the same job title and the same company” 59 percent of the time last year. That’s a slight decrease from 65 percent in 2019. On average, women made 2.5 percent less than their male counterparts in 2020, down from 4.4 percent in 2019.

Some 60 percent of women candidates also reported receiving “offers lower than the average for their position and years of experience in 2020, compared to 66 percent in 2019.” In terms of methodology, Hired drew from a sample dataset of 226,000 interview requests and job offers, supplemented by a self-reported survey that drew 2,000 responses.

Hired’s study echoes other findings about tech’s gender gap over the past few years. Dice has found that the pay differential varies state by state, exceeding $15,000 in some instances. In New York, women technologists make an average of $8,914 less than their male counterparts; in California, it’s $5,369. Pay differentials also exist by occupation, with women data scientists making $9,561 less on average than men; women software engineers earn an average of $8,559 less. 

The pay gap greatly impacts the morale of technologists who identify as women, according to Dice’s new Equality in Tech Report. Some 35 percent of women reported dissatisfaction with their current compensation, and 49 percent of women reported feeling underpaid relative to their male counterparts.

What will it take to close this gap? That’s an excellent question. Diversity officers and other executives suggest that transparency is a key element; unless you know the standard industry pay for your particular role, you can’t accurately determine whether you’re making what you deserve. Unfortunately, many companies are reluctant to share too much compensation information, especially with job candidates and current employees, although that’s beginning to change—in 2019, for example, Intel announced that it would release employee data broken down by race and gender.

Mentorship and education are also vital, since a more experienced technologist can often offer good advice about a colleague’s true worth. Having a strong network can also help technologists manage issues around their compensation (and negotiation for higher pay). Ultimately, though, companies may have to do more with regard to compensation openness if they want technologists of all genders to feel truly satisfied.

4 Responses to “Pay Gap for Women in Technology Persists, Despite Progress”

  1. Sadly, this difference in salaries based on gender has been going on since men found out that programming is a well-paying profession, decades ago. This difference is compounded over the years of a woman’s career, translating into lower pensions and 401K contributions and ultimately, lower Social Security payments. It’s not really a joke. There is a lot of gender and age discrimination out there.

  2. The sad part of this article, is that it reports unqualified and baseless data. We as readers should be able to see the validation in this data since economists have already chimed in that its not real. Simply stating some women “feel” isn’t fact. Even more insulting about this article is that any woman that knows she is being paid less has the law on her side to challenge the issue.

  3. David K

    Divirsity of thought is gold! Helping to resolve this gap could include the EEOC, coaching of women in salary discussions, even the mining the data collected by the IRS. For example, an EEOC general scan of the IRS can quickly bubble up companies reporting women wages consistently lower than men and generate other protected and non protected class based reporting.
    EEOC could also consider focused audits, based on complaints, the reports above, or similar decision criteria.
    I’m not up to speed on the enforcement options the EEOC has, but presenting Congress with clear evidence of gaps might help them there.
    I’ve noticed over the years that women are less likely to be good negotiators in salary discussions, and much more likely to ask for time away benefits or even to ‘buy’ additional time off. Coaching women on pre-hire communications and resumes to maintain gender neutral focus might help.

  4. Warren Farrell wrote a book, “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap” and he has done extensive research on this subject. He says that women make lifestyle choices:
    * Women often put a premium on autonomy, fulfillment, safety, flexibility (25 to 35-hour work weeks and proximity to home)
    * Farrell has also found that men average more hours per week and have longer commutes. (Longer commute to work at a higher paying job.)
    * The dirtier, more dangerous, and outdoor jobs (such as garbage collecting, construction, mining) — the huge majority of employees in these jobs are men.
    * Men are more likely to travel for their jobs, or relocate