In June of 2019, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team went on to defeat the Netherlands and win the Women’s World Cup soccer match. Amidst the celebrations and fanfare, a darker side of inequality emerged as it was revealed that the women players make 38 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts made.
The pay inequality isn’t just relegated to women’s sports as it extends heavily into the tech industry, despite the many women who were instrumental in its development. We’re going to look at the gender pay gap that currently exists in the tech industry and what companies can do to start bridging that gap.
What is the Gender Pay Gap?
The gender pay gap in the tech industry in the U.S. is the well-documented discrepancy in pay for the same work and experience performed by both men and women. Women often apply for the same jobs at the same companies as men yet will receive job offers that pay less 63% of the time.
This can lead to negative feelings towards management, lower morale, and a high turnover rate as women will have a greater reason to look for a new job at another company that will pay them what they’re worth.
Companies that undervalue the contributions and talent of women can often suffer the inability to attract good talent. Such workplace review sites as Glassdoor offer a candid glimpse into the inner cultural workings of the business. It doesn’t take much for a company to get a reputation as one that pays its female employees less money than it does the males.
Other Areas Affected by the Pay Gap
The gender pay gap in tech also negatively affects other areas in employment, such as bonus pay. Human resources software company ADP published a pay equity study that found that “a vast percentage difference between female and male compensation originates from a difference in bonus pay.”
The net negative effects of the pay gap also extend out to 401(k) plans. Women are getting short-changed when companies match what they put in due to their lowered salaries. A gender pay gap article by Forbes found that a female would lose out on close to $7,000 in retirement benefits when compared to a male counterpart.
Retirement benefits are also negatively affected by the gap as Social Security payouts are determined by previous earnings. Women will lose out even more money if their employer offers a retirement match contribution program.
The Gender Pay gap in Tech Stats
A recent news article by CNBC reported on a survey by the recruitment firm Hired which found that the pay gap still exists, despite all of the attention that it’s received over the years. The survey found that when women discovered that they were being paid less than their male counterparts, 16% of them realized that the difference was at least $20,000.
While historically progressive cities as San Francisco reported the smallest gap (3%) in payout of the five cities surveyed, other cities such as Boston reported at least a 9% discrepancy that hasn’t changed since the same survey was performed a year ago.
What Companies Can Do to Bridge the Gap
The above survey also found that around 65% of women in the U.S. tech industry feel as if they are discriminated against in their jobs. The most common reason given was that they thought that the leadership team did not respect nor take them seriously.
The good news is that some corporations are taking active steps in their attempt to eliminate the gap. Companies such as Deloitte, Apple, and Hilton have hired diversity officers to help identify and reduce instances of the pay gap, gender, and racial discrimination.
Another way to help expose the pay gap and institute change is to start publishing salary discrepancies. Talking about salaries isn’t as taboo as it once was, and this can help increase awareness and bring forth positive changes.
An industry-wide cultural adjustment must take place before the pay gap in tech is completely eliminated. Men are still firmly in the decision making and board roles of most tech companies out there. Perceptions and misconceptions of women that were once so prevalent in the workplace must be reevaluated and eliminated before women can truly get paid what they deserve.