Tech

US tech still has a pay discrimination problem, research shows

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More than half of women in the U.S. tech sector are being paid less than their male counterparts, new research revealed on Thursday.

According to a report from San Francisco-based recruitment firm Hired, in 60 percent of cases women are being offered lower salaries than men for the same role at the same company. This compares to 63 percent in the same survey last year.

Of those surveyed who had discovered they were being paid less than their male colleagues, 16 percent found the difference was at least $20,000, researchers found.

And the pay gap widens when considering minorities. The average gender pay gap in U.S. tech is 3 percent — but the research showed that for LGBTQ women that gap rises to 8 percent, while Hispanic women are paid 9 percent less than their white male counterparts. Black women were being paid just $0.89 for every dollar earned by white men in their companies, the survey found.

Hired surveyed 2,600 tech workers across the U.S. via its website to conduct the analysis.

San Francisco's tech scene had the smallest gender pay gap of the five tech hubs specifically highlighted in the report. Women working in the city were being offered an average of 6 percent less than men in similar roles.

At the other end of the scale, Boston had a reported pay gap of 9 percent between men and women — no improvement from where it was a year ago.

Los Angeles, New York and Seattle had gender pay gaps of 8 percent in their tech sectors, way above tech's average gap of 3 percent across the whole United States.

Combating discrimination

Hired's report claimed that 65 percent of women in U.S. tech feel discriminated against in the workplace. Women surveyed by Hired also reported they were still experiencing discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and age.

Most women in the survey said they felt discriminated against because they were not taken seriously by company leadership.

However, some positive steps are being taken by American tech companies to build more inclusive workplaces. Most notably, the sector's national wage gap narrowed from 4 percent in 2018 to 3 percent this year. Hired said firms were also interviewing more women and most U.S. cities had improved their local gender wage gaps. Women are also beginning to ask for salaries that match their market worth, the report said.

Mehul Patel, the CEO at Hired, told CNBC via email that it was critical employers looked at their compensation strategies to ensure fair pay.

"It starts with data transparency. Sparking awareness through publishing wage inequality data is integral to affecting change," he said. "Salary discussions in the workplace are becoming less taboo, (but) in order to close the wage gap and reach pay equity we need to continue creating awareness through data while ensuring tech talent is empowered to ask for their worth."

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