Spotlight on Gender Equality in the Tech Industry

Spotlight on Gender Equality in the Tech Industry

Silicon Valley is pursuing the goal of inclusion and diversity in the tech industry. With advocates calling out tech giants for their lack of diversity, companies are coming under increasing scrutiny. With mounting pressure to release diversity data, companies have moved toward parity, hired heads of diversity, and conducted unconscious bias training.

However, there is no quick fix. Issues such as pay and job prospect disparities remain common sticking points. Here’s what you need to know:

The Gender Pay Gap in Tech

In March 2020, the Dicewebsite published its Gender Pay Gap in Tech Report. Despite pushes for gender pay equality, the report revealed that issues persist throughout the tech industry. Gaps between male and female pay persist even when other factors such as education, experience, roles, and location are taken into account. Despite their contributions, women remain disadvantaged throughout much of the industry.

The Dice report analyzed three years of salary data to raise awareness and drive discussion about the gender pay gap. Dice said that its hope in publishing real figures was to illuminate compensation equality transcending regions, states, and occupations. Its findings revealed significant disparities, with pay differences between men and women exceeding $15,000 in some states.

Virtually All US States Revealed a Negative Pay Differential for Women

Women are paid less than men, even when doing the same jobs and possessing the same skills, all across America today. While the gap is wider in some states than others, Dice’s report revealed pay inequities throughout the entire tech industry. It is not confined to particular regions or states.

The report identified significant average pay disparities for women in tech, for example: $5,001 per year in Florida; $5,369 in California; $8,314 in Georgia; and $8,914 in New York. Only in Minnesota were women ahead, with analysts finding that technologists who were female earned an average of $3,929 more than their male colleagues in that state.

The Dice report further revealed increased pay disparities at an occupational level. The study showed that data architects who were women earned an average of $13,123 less per year than their male counterparts. Data scientists and software engineers who were female earned an annual average of $9,561 and $8,556 less respectively. However, the study showed that network engineers who identify as female earned $4,836 more per year. It also revealed a positive differential for female technical writers of around $6,443 per year.

In the past, gender pay disparities have been attributed to the “opportunity gap,” with men enjoying greater opportunities to hold higher-level, well-paying jobs compared with their female colleagues. However, the Dice study revealed occupational pay discrepancies even after applying controls in terms of educational level, location, and experience. This means that the opportunity gap is, if not a myth, far from the only reason gender parity hasn’t been attained.

When asked whether they anticipated changing employers in the next 12 months, 39 percent of males and 42 percent of females revealed that they did. Companies are starting to take note of the different motivators that attract and retain a gender-diverse workforce, but as the Dice report shows, there is still some way to go.

Change within Tech Industry Giants Often Trickles down to Smaller Companies

The move to increased diversity and inclusion is good news in terms of both large and small companies attempting to diversify their talent pipelines. Nevertheless, the statistics published by Dice indicate that these diversity efforts are failing to close substantial gender pay gaps. This is particularly true of critical roles such as software engineering, security, and data.

Tech companies are showing commitment to increasing diversity across the industry, but this is not something that will change overnight. Employers may have the best intentions, but good intentions are not enough. Female employees in tech have a quick read more than double that of men in tech (47 percent versus 17 percent respectively). This means that encouraging women to stay in the industry is proving a significant challenge.

A recent survey revealed that 63 percent of women in tech feel they are not taken seriously. They find that their ideas are ignored by male colleagues and they are disregarded in meetings. One of the biggest barriers for women in tech is the lack of female mentorship and role models. Having little support creates uncertainty for anyone considering entering a particular industry.

In addition, 35 percent of women in tech report having noticed pay disparities between men and women with identical skills. This makes the industry unattractive to women who might otherwise be interested in tech as a career.

Closing the Gender Gap Is Crucial

Technology plays a fundamental role in our lives. It is vital that women have an equal influence over the evolution of technology as men. Half of the people who use tech are women, after all. Fortunately, tech companies are increasingly coming to realize the importance of inclusivity, enabling women to influence business strategies.

The gender imbalance in tech will not be resolved in the near future. The good news is that many leading tech companies are coming to realize the importance of investing in employees who are women. Diverse management teams have diverse perspectives at their disposal. This improves problem-solving capabilities, as well as broadening potential customer bases. The bottom line is, inclusivity is fundamental to any company’s long-term survival.

About the Author

Joanna RileyJoanna (Jo) Riley is an entrepreneur, investor, and advocate in technology, and is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Censia. Jo has a highly experienced background in building and scaling companies, which she attributes to her deep passion for people and building technologies that allow people to be their best selves. She brings her wide knowledge of the industry to better transform the way enterprise companies hire talent. You can connect with Joanna Riley at @joannakiddriley on Twitter or on Linkedin. Read her full bio here.