As we continue to learn the benefits of diverse teams in a working environment, the issue of the gender pay gap is getting more attention in the tech industry.
The gender wage gap in the tech industry is the difference in pay between women and men in fields such as engineering. Even though women apply for the same positions in the same company, they still often earn less than men — about 63 percent of the time.
Women need to work an extra three to four months to catch up with men's pay for 12 months. This has been proven in multiple studies, which show that men earn more than women in all occupations and industries.
The gender wage gap has been persistent for centuries. Even though the gap is being shortened, it still remains factual that men earn more than women in the same positions. Now, the ratio of women's to men’s salaries is 82 cents to one dollar.
March 15 is Equal Pay Day, representing how far into the year women will have to work to meet up with the amount men earned for the previous year. This date is shifted forward even more for women of color.
An impact on success
For many decades, people have challenged executives in companies on the issue of the gender wage gap. However, this problem persists to date and is still making headlines across different industries.
Experts like Darden Wilkerson have pointed out that women are often expected to take time out of work to meet the needs of their families, for responsibilities such as children or geriatric care. This is often the case because women tend to earn less than their male partners. The COVID pandemic caused an increase in the occurrence of this scenario. Frequent timeouts of valuable employees will impact the success of the company negatively. This is also one of the contributing factors to why women are paid less.
Since the COVID pandemic broke out, more than 2.3 million moms have left the workforce compared to about 2 million men. This news comes as experts continue to stress the benefits and importance of diversity in the workforce.
Source: Bureau of Labor statistics
Gartner reported that shared performance and profits increase by 50 percent when women are well-represented among decision-makers. The report was created when Gartner was discussing its equitable performance-based integrity compensation model. The reports also suggest that having women make up more than 30 percent of C-suite executives increases net margins by six percent.
Numerous studies show that business productivity and the number of women involved are directly proportional. This is even more true when the company enforces diversity in its teams. It creates a dynamic group that tackles problems from all sorts of angles.
Companies that fail to address the diversity and pay gap issues are increasingly witnessing business problems. For example, Google had to pay more than $3.8 million to about 5,500 employees and job seekers due to allegations of hiring bias and systematic compensation.
Statistics show that 76 percent of people look at the level of diversity in the company when evaluating an offer. To keep valuable employees and attract good ones, companies need to assess their compensation package, ensuring it is welcoming to women and men alike, and minorities especially.
What you need to know about the gap
The gender pay gap can be attributed to a plethora of reasons with deep societal roots. Let's start with the "elephant in the room," which is outright bias.
The idea that men are the breadwinners in families is still prevalent even in today's modern society and has bred grounds for paying men more than women. This is true even if it is done consciously or subconsciously.
There is also research that shows that women will need significantly higher qualifications and experience to compete for the same positions as men. This often forces women into junior roles that have lesser pay and have more steps to climb on the career ladder.
Representation can also play a huge role in the way women choose industries. It is an established fact that the tech field has been masculinized, making it a desirable environment for very few women. The idea that the tech industry is ideal for introverted males who sit behind the computer screen all day is not very appealing to others. Without proper female representation who can break that stereotype, young women will not know what to expect and will be more likely to shy away from tech. It will also make the few who have the courage to get into the industry more likely to be exploited. Speaking of female career coaches, Gladys West is a prime example of a woman that the younger generation can look up to for inspiration.
On top of that, women are socialized to be less likely to aggressively negotiate their salaries as men tend to do. This accumulation of lower salaries then makes it a norm for employers to start women at a similar salary level, which is lower than that of men.
The gender pay gap may also be influenced by how the studies are conducted. Lots of surveys calculate the average pay of women in IT and compare it to that of men, which leads to the conclusion that women are paid less. However, the figures may also be due to the lower representation of women in high-paying positions. That will be an issue both of representation and now the pay gap.
Other statistics on the topic
Women in tech are still paid less
Almost all states and regions in the United States show a pay gap when comparing the salaries of men and women in the same positions. Some states have a wider gap than others, but overall, the data shows a significant difference in pay that favors men. Minnesota is the only state with a pay gap that favors women.
Gender pay gap by occupation
There is a higher difference in pay between men and women at the occupational level. This is true for common roles like software developers as well as roles that have started gaining momentum in the business world, such as data engineers.
Different salary-satisfaction levels between men and women
Across the tech industry, women are generally less satisfied with their compensation than men. This is a very big issue for tech companies because unsatisfied employees have a high attrition rate. Up to 38 percent of women are unsatisfied with their salary as compared to 33 percent of men.
Men and women value different things in employers
A workforce that is gender diverse is more competent and talented, tackling business problems from every angle to bring about positive outcomes. Employers need to make use of this advantage and create an atmosphere where women can comfortably express their competencies. This also includes providing benefits that go beyond the workplace and offer more value to the lives of women.
Steps that will help close the gender pay gap
Recognizing Equal Pay Day and encouraging women to be more confident and ask for more is great but will not solve the problem. There are many other things that individuals, companies, and society as a whole can do to reduce the pay gap.
Women seeking a particular position should do research on the salary, experience, and education levels of experts in that role in their regions. Don’t sell yourself short.
It is also important to have a career coach who will guide you through your career path. They may also actively ensure that your input is recognized, which can lead to better pay and benefits.
Talking about salaries with peers and aspirants can also help close the gender pay gap. This is because the more information women have about salary levels, the better chance they have for negotiating for better pay.
Policies can also be put in place to ensure that all genders can take paid leave for parenting duties. This will help break the stereotype that makes women the primary caregivers and ensure that more parents stay at work when their child is born. These policies have already been implemented in Finland as all parents get a paid family leave of seven months.
The compensation and salary for any role should be based on competencies and the person's ability to get the job done, and not based on gender or stereotypes.
Companies also need to review their policies on how promotions and salary raises are granted. Studies show that even though women ask for raises as frequently as men do, they are more often rejected.
Since women make up the majority of people at the bottom of the pay range, raising the minimum wage will mostly be beneficial to them.