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IT gender salary gap not as dramatic as you think

Sharon Florentine | Aug. 28, 2013
It's a common belief that men are paid more than women for the same job in the tech field. However, based on two recent salary surveys, that belief turns out to be less accurate than you might think. However, that doesn't mean significant gender career issues don't exist.

To the average female job-seeker, the gender salary gap is a fact of life — one more obstacle to overcome in the search for high-paying, fulfilling work.

The conventional wisdom is that women are paid just $0.77 for every dollar their male counterparts make, in most industries, including technology.

But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong?

"To the average person, it does look like there's a large wage gap. But if you take into account other pieces of the puzzle — education, experience, job title and industry, for example — it's not quite as dramatic as it's currently reported," says Katie Bardaro, lead economist for Payscale.

PayScale provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software, and is the creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world, according to the firm.

What Gender Pay Gap?
Payscale's report, "Women at Work: PayScale Redefines the Gender Wage Gap", delves into the gender wage gap issue as it applies to the technology field in an effort to identify the factors that contribute to the wage gap. The findings are startling: in technology, the gender wage gap all but disappears.

"It's not a wage gap that's the problem. It's a jobs gap," Bardaro says. Payscale's report looked at 150 tech-specific job titles and found that once the data was controlled for compensable factors like education, experience and job responsibilities, the discrepancies aren't significant, if they exist at all, especially in the technology field.

Payscale's findings are echoed in's most recent salary survey, which measures compensation levels, types of jobs held by men and women in the technology field, and overall compensation satisfaction. The findings have been consistent since Dice's 2009 Salary Survey: When comparing exactly equal titles, experience and education, men and women in technology are paid equally.

The 2012-2013 salary survey did show that men out-earned women by an average annual income of $95,929 to $87,527, but the difference is that men and women tend to hold different types of jobs within the field, says CEO Scot Melland.

"Of the top five positions held by both men and women, only Project Managers made the list. Otherwise, men and women tend to gravitate toward different jobs within technology," he says.

"Our survey shows that more men are gravitating to software engineering, programming, architecture and more 'technical' positions, while more women are in project management, administration and the 'softer' technology roles," he says. Whether this is by choice or because of a systemic, institutional bias is the million-dollar question that no study has successfully answered, Melland says.


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