Diversity within tech firms is very much in the news right now, thanks to the controversy at Google over a certain employee memo. Recruiters and hiring managers know it will come up—if not in an internal meeting, then during a candidate interview.
Much of the debate over tech diversity centers on two things: the percentage of employees who hail from underrepresented groups, and the compensation those groups receive. For example, various groups have spent several years analyzing whether a “gender pay gap” exists in tech, as well as its size.
A new study from Redfin (which normally focuses on real estate) found something unsurprising: at tech firms with a higher proportion of women executives, the gender pay gap shrunk by roughly half. Redfin arrived at this conclusion after analyzing the gender makeup of executive teams at 31 tech firms.
At companies with fewer women executives, women earned 96 cents to every dollar made by their male peers with similar levels of experience; at those firms with a greater proportion of women in leadership roles, however, those earnings increased to 98 cents. (Redfin defined companies where women made up more than 25 percent of the executive team as ones with a “high rate of women executives.”)
“The two-cent pay gap might not sound like much, but for a man earning a $100,000 salary, a woman would earn $96,000 at a company with fewer women executives, compared to $98,000 at a company with more women at the top,” read Redfin’s note accompanying its data. “And the pay gap difference is a whopping 14 cents when you look at all men and women without controlling for whether they are in similar roles and levels. This suggests that companies with a high percentage of women execs also have more women in other highly-paid roles.”
Other studies have found that the gender-pay gap in tech is narrowing. For example, PayScale reported in late 2016 that the gender gap had narrowed by 0.3 percent, to 2.4 percent. Moreover, more than 50 percent of respondents to PayScale’s survey said that gender inequality was a problem in the workplace.
In mid-2016, Dice analyzed its annual salary survey data of more than 16,000 tech professionals and found that there was no pay gap, provided you compared equal education levels, years of technical experience, and job title. However, there was a “position gap”: the top ten tech positions held by men had average salaries notably higher than the top ten tech positions held by women. That could also explain any earnings differential between men and women in tech.
As this week’s controversy over Google’s memo has demonstrated, gender roles remain a serious point of debate within the tech community—with each new study more fuel for conversation.