Why the Wage Gap for Tech Workers Goes Beyond Gender

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The gender wage gap is an important piece of the narrative around equality both in and outside of the workplace—but gender isn’t the only factor that can impact who gets paid more, and who gets the shorter end of the stick. In fact, Hired’s 2018 State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace Report shows that the wage gap can look different across geographies, industries, role, age, years of experience, LGBTQ+ status, and race. Here we’ll dive into the various factors that impact wage gaps, as well as address how employees can leverage their knowledge about pay equality to advocate for fair treatment.

Overall, gender is still a huge issue

While there are certainly other factors that can impact whether an employee is paid equitably, our data shows that there is still a significant gender pay gap—which, by the numbers, hasn’t changed whatsoever since last year’s report.

This year’s data shows that men in the US are offered higher salaries than women 63% of the time—for the same role at the same company. At these companies, we found that women get paid 4% less than men for the same role, with some offering up to 45% less to women. The numbers are even worse abroad, with an average gap of 9% in Toronto, 7% in London, and 6% in Paris.

And it’s not that women don’t know or care about these discrepancies. More than half (54%) of women reported having found out that they’re paid less than a peer of another gender in the same role, as opposed to just 19% of men. Further, a full 74% of women surveyed believe people are paid differently based on their gender identity, compared to 53% of men.

But this doesn’t stop women from asking for lower salaries. One contributing factor to the pay gap is what is referred to as the expectation gap, or the salary women ask for when considering a new role—and these numbers are even higher than for the wage gap. On average, women surveyed ask for less money 66% of the time, and 6% less than men for the same role at the same company.

Additional factors that impact the gender wage gap

Tech workers looking for more equitable pay may want to consider geography, role, and industry, as our data suggests that the wage gap varies across these factors—at least on an aggregate level. Keep in mind that the below data reflects the difference in average pay for men and women in given markets, while the overall numbers presented above are for the same company and same role.

Across US tech hubs, the wage gap in San Francisco is 8%, compared to 9% in Boston, 10% in New York and Los Angeles, and 11% in Seattle. One major concern impacting these gaps is female underrepresentation in the candidate pool, particularly for senior roles. Los Angeles and Seattle lag far behind, with women being underrepresented by 29% and 25%, respectively. Boston is the only US city with an overrepresentation of females, but only by 5%.

As talented women consider the various roles available to them in tech, product management stands out as having the lowest gender wage gap (4%), as opposed to 8% for data analytics, design, and software engineering. According to our 2018 State of Salaries Report, product management roles also offered the highest average salaries in 2017, making these roles attractive prospects—at least from the financial side of things.

The wage gap also varies across industries. Surprisingly, finance and health boast the lowest at 7%, with the gaps for e-commerce, media, and education technology coming in at 8%, 9%, and 10%, respectively. The expectation gap is also lowest for finance and health industries, suggesting that perhaps industries that have been long ridiculed for gender discrepancies are taking note, while others still need to catch up.

Gender wage discrepancies also increase with age, as workers take on more senior roles. The average wage gap for ages 20-25 is just 3%, while it increases to 10% for those between 40-45. Similarly, the wage gap is generally lower for women with fewer years of experience, at just 2% for those with 0-2 years working. This increases to a high of 8% for women with 13-14 years of work experience.

Race and LQBTQ+ status also impact how people are paid. Our data shows that black and hispanic women are paid an average of 10% less than white males. While LGBTQ+ men experience a pay gap of 3% when compared to non-LGBTQ+, the effect of LGBTQ+ status is the opposite for women. We found that LGBTQ+ women are offered 1% more than non-LGBTQ+ women, as well as asking for higher salaries.

How to ask for what you’re worth

Despite significant efforts in recent years to create more diverse and equitable tech companies, a significant wage gap remains, which our data shows goes far beyond gender. As you’re evaluating potential employers, it’s therefore important to know what you’re worth—and to ask for nothing less.

Being a successful advocate for your own equitable pay starts with research. The internet has significantly increased transparency into salary data, meaning that you can get a solid idea of what your skills are worth in the market. It can also be helpful to talk to trusted friends or mentors for external validation of the market environment.

In addition, don’t be shy to ask your potential employers about their compensation philosophies and initiatives to create a more equitable workforce. Being aware of the data related to wage gaps—both related to gender and other factors—can also help you advocate for what you’re worth, not to mention send the message that you’ve done your homework and value your skills highly.

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