Main image of article Beyond the Numbers: Unveiling the Factors Behind the Gender Pay Gap in Tech

This year for Dice's "Women in Tech Week," we analyzed survey data from our latest Tech Salary Report, specifically focusing on gaps in responses from people who identify as women and men in tech. One statistic stood out: a concerning gender pay gap, with the average annual salary for men in tech at $114,000 compared to $99,000 for women. 

But there's more to the story than just the numbers. Let's delve deeper into the factors behind this disparity. 

Retention Issues in Tech 

There is a clear retention issue for women in tech. The following gaps make this clear: 

  • People who identify as men are more likely to hold full-time positions: 86% of men reported being in a full-time role compared to 80% of respondents who identify as women. 

  • Men are more likely to be in their current role for longer: 31% of men have been in their role for over 5 years vs. 22% of women 

  • Men are more likely to be in the industry for longer and report spending over five years in tech: 80% of men vs. 66% of women 

According to a report by Accenture, 50% if women in tech roles leave them by the time they are 35 years old. These figures, considering the correlation between tenure and higher salaries, help explain part of the story behind the gender pay gap. This leads us to wonder, why are women leaving tech at a higher rate than men? 

Vandana Singh of SHRM, in "Viewpoint: Why Many Women Are Quitting Technology Sector Jobs," points to toxic workplaces as a key factor. “Women's negative experiences [at work] range from minor to severe harassment, sexism, discrimination and misogyny to explicit death threats,” Shingh reports. 

What This Means for Women in Tech: 

  • Advocate for Yourself: Don't be afraid to ask for promotions and raises. Research your worth and be prepared to negotiate your salary with confidence. 

  • Seek Mentorship: Find mentors who can provide guidance and support your career development. 

  • Network with Other Women: Build a strong network of female colleagues who understand your challenges and can offer advice. 

Broken Rewards Systems Are Disadvantageous 

Digging into survey responses on raises and bonuses reveals a troubling pattern: a rewards system that disadvantages women. The following findings expose critical weaknesses in how companies reward tech employees. 

  • Fewer women report receiving raises (52% vs. 56% for men). 

  • Women are less likely to cite merit as the reason for raises (37% vs. 42% for men). 

  • Significantly fewer women received bonuses (40% vs. 53% for men). 

What This Means for Women in Tech: 

  • Track Your Achievements: Document your accomplishments and contributions to the team. Use this data to advocate for your value during performance reviews. 

  • Understand Your Company's Promotion Criteria: Ask your manager about the specific criteria considered for promotions within your department. 

  • Negotiate Like a Pro: Do your research on salary ranges for your position and location. Be prepared to counter any lowball offers with data and evidence of your worth. 

Beyond Money: Impact on Job Security and Satisfaction 

Unfortunately, the gender pay gap isn't just a financial disadvantage women face. It goes deeper, affecting how women feel about their careers as a whole. 

Compensation Satisfaction: We found that 39% of women are unhappy with their pay. This shows a 5% gap when ompared to 34% of men. This suggests many women feel underpaid for their skills and experience. 

Job Security Concerns: Our report also revealed that 35% of women feel less secure in their roles compared to 40% of men. This may be due to a lack of confidence in their earning potential compared to male colleagues. 

What This Means for Women in Tech: 

  • Know Your Worth: Research salary data for your position and experience level. This will help you identify any potential pay gaps and empower you to negotiate effectively. 

  • Focus on Building Your Skills: Constantly develop your skillset to remain competitive in the job market. This can increase your earning potential and make you a more valuable asset to your company. 

  • Explore Your Options: If you feel undervalued at your current company, be prepared to walk away and seek opportunities elsewhere. 

The Path Forward: Take Charge of Your Career 

If you are a woman building a tech career, stay diligent about advocating for yourself and maintaining a clear sense of your own value. The tech industry is full of opportunity, but it loses ground every time a talented woman chooses to leave. Companies that prioritize pay equity analysis, mentorship programs, and leadership training are going to have a significant leg up when it comes to attracting talented women in tech.