Money

Tech pays some of the highest salaries in the US—there's just one problem

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

In the tech industry, while jobs are in high demand and offer some of the highest salaries in the country, the wage gap is still apparent. And not just between men and women but among employees of different races, too.

An attempt to equalize pay has reached the top of many companies' agendas, particularly with high-profile employers like Google addressing workplace parity and diversity. But while these initiatives have gained momentum, the wage gap has closed only slightly. The Institute For Women's Policy Research predicts women won't reach pay equity with men until 2059, and black women won't reach pay equity until 2124.

Job-platform website Hired analyzed salary data of tech-industry workers, looking at how gender, race and sexual orientation impact pay and pay expectations. Here are the findings:

Women earn less for the same job

About 63 percent of the time, women are offered lower starting salaries than their male counterparts for the same job at the same company.

On average, they are offered four percent less than men for the same role. Some companies offer women up to 50 percent less. For one out of every 10 job openings the data analyzed, companies offered men salaries at least 20 percent higher than they offered women.

"This pay gap is likely the result of a number of factors," the report says. "These might include unconscious bias during the interview process and compensation policies that determine a candidate's salary based on what he or she was previously making, rather than the market rate for that individual's skills and years of experience."

The impact of gender bias affects opportunity as well. About 53 percent of the time, companies only interviewed male candidates. The reverse was true six percent of the time, the report says, "even when controlling for the large percentage of men in the tech industry."

Men ask for more

"When examining candidates' preferred salaries, we discovered for 69 percent of the roles for which both a man and a woman were given an initial offer … women asked for an average four percent less than men, though, this number rose to as much as 80 percent in some cases."

When salary offers made at the beginning of the interview process were compared with offers made after all interviews and salary negotiations were complete, the report found, the gap rose to five percent.

The numbers demonstrate "just how important it is for a candidate to know and ask for what they're worth" in salary negations the report says, but adds, "findings from various studies show that even when women do negotiate, they are less likely than men to be successful."

However, women with less than one year of experience ask for an average of four percent more than men, and are offered an average of eight percent more. That means that, for every dollar their male counterpart makes, women earn $1.08. The same is not true overall, for women with more than six years' experience or for women who have children.

White men make the most

White men are offered higher salaries than women and their peers of color, the report notes, and black women are offered the lowest salaries. They make $0.79 for every dollar white men earn.

Males of all races receive higher salary offers than women, the report adds, but white women are offered two percent more than black men.

The report's sample size was not large enough to breakdown black and Latino candidates by race and gender. The data combined the overall race gender gaps.

"That said, it's possible that, for black and Latino candidates, the combined effects of being a racial minority and a woman are greater than simply the combination of these two gaps."

LBGTQ workers make the least

According to the data, non-LGBTQ men are paid more than others, followed by LGBTQ men, non-LGBTQ women and LGBTQ women. Pay expectations follow the same pattern.

There does appear to be light at the end of the tunnel, though.

Some experts argue millennial women's salaries will surpass men's by 2020 thanks to their high education rates. Individuals are bucking the system, like the manager quit a six-figure Google job to help other women break into tech. And Tesla recently welcomed the first black, female CEO to its board of directors.

"This issue won't be solved overnight," the report says, "but with both sides working together, we'll be on a path toward closing the gap and making inequity in the workplace a thing of the past."

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