OK, now I feel better. Back to other gender differences revealed by our survey.
When asked what issues matter most about their jobs, 55% of men -- and only 47% of women -- said base pay. Pay ranked third for women in the pecking order of what matters about the job. The No. 1 answer for women (57%) was "challenge of job/responsibility." Benefits ranked second as most important for the women, at 48%.
Job challenge/responsibility was the second-most-popular choice by men (48%), followed by benefits (45%).
Survey respondents could pick multiple answers from a list of nearly three dozen job issues that "matter most," including flex schedules, vacation time, bonuses, financial stability of employer, and more complex things, like "involvement with company strategy setting and determining goals."
Despite their differences (I'll get into some more of those later), male and female IT pros do seem to value a variety of job issues similarly, including job atmosphere (named by 30% of both sexes); corporate culture and values (named by 19% of men and women); and even "potential for promotion," which 12% of men and 11% of women named.
Among the biggest differences between the sexes is the "ability to work on creating new, innovative IT solutions," which matters to 36% of men, but only 22% of females. Similarly, there were wide differences in how men and women rank the "ability to work with leading-edge technology." Nearly a quarter (23%) of the men named that, while only 16% of the women thought it's among the things that matter most about a tech job.
Here are some of the other notable gaps:
38% of women, versus 29% of men, say a "flexible work schedule" matters most.
19% of men think "bonus opportunities" matter most, versus only 14% of women.
"Vacation time/paid time-off" matters most to 30% of women, but only 25% of men.
"Having the tools and support to do my job well" is important to 21% of women, but only 15% of men.
"Skills development/education/training opportunities" matter to 16% of women and only 12% of men.
"Telecommuting/working from home" was important to 17% of women but only 12% of men.
While the survey shows that "job challenge/responsibilities" matter more to female respondents than males, slightly more women (40%) than men (37%) said they feel "intellectually challenged" with the IT projects they're working on. And 53% of the men, versus 49% of women, said they feel only "somewhat challenged." About the same percentage of men and women (11%) said they don't feel challenged "at all."
Going back to pay, despite the gap (which isn't new or unique to IT jobs, of course,) women and men are pretty similar in levels of satisfaction about their total compensation.
Give or take a percentage or two, there are almost as many men as women who say they are very satisfied, neutral, or very dissatisfied with their total pay. However, more men (47%) than women (43%) say they are "satisfied," while slightly more women (16%) than men (13%) are "dissatisfied" about their total compensation.
In terms of satisfaction levels with "all aspects" of the job -- including pay, benefits, and that list of other issues we mentioned earlier -- men and woman are similarly pleased. (Most men and women -- about 47% -- say they are satisfied. Everyone else ranges between being very satisfied to very dissatisfied.)
Finally, like the pay gap, a shortage of women in tech careers also has been a long-time issue. That scarcity also is evident in the number of females who responded to our survey. Of the 5,080 IT staffers who responded, 83% were male, only 17% female. Among the 4,573 managers, the gap was even wider -- 86% were male, only 14% female.
Still, men and women seem to hold similar views about whether IT is "as promising a career path today as it was five years ago." About 43% of both men and women say IT is "as promising a career today." Slightly more men (46%) than women (44%) say it's "not as promising." The rest are unsure.
Anna Gathright, a systems administrator at Murphy Oil, an oil and gas company based in El Dorado, Ark., doesn't understand why women shun the tech field.
"I like the challenge of the job," says Gathright about her work in IT. The culture and size of her employer, which has 5,000 employees worldwide, including 500 in the company's Arkansas home office, allows Gathright to get "a broad sense of the job" without feeling too pigeonholed, she says.
"IT is a good career for women," says Gathright, a mother of two small kids and one of only a few females in the company's 45-person IT organization. Gathright has tried to persuade young females from her church to consider a career in IT, especially those girls who seem to have "solid analytical skills," she says.
"But a lot of girls just don't seem to want to work in IT," she says.
That's probably because there are many other "gaps" between men and women and how they perceive tech jobs than a salary survey like ours reveals.
What do you think?