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Women In IT: Where Is The Equal Pay?

Women in IT are still earning significantly less than their male counterparts, according to the InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey. Take a look at our findings, and then let us know how your compensation stacks up.
InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Leadership Jobs
InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Leadership Jobs
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The InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey reveals a wide gender gap in IT – both in terms of the number of women responding to the survey, and how their compensation compares with that of their male counterparts.

Of the 2,925 total IT respondents, only 450 -- or 15% -- were female. Survey respondents were identified as either IT staff or IT management based on their current roles. Men made up 83% of IT staff respondents and 87% of IT management respondents.

Female IT staffers earned a median annual base salary of $72,000, 22.2% less than the $90,000 earned by their male counterparts.

[Which IT staff jobs pay the most? Read InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Jobs.]

Female IT managers earned a median annual base salary of $102,000, 9.3% less than the $112,000 earned by their male counterparts.

When we look at total annual compensation, including salary and all cash bonuses, the picture is similar. Female IT staffers earned a median compensation of $78,000 compared with $95,000 for their male counterparts.

Female IT managers earned median compensation of $109,000, compared with the figure of $120,000 that's earned by their male counterparts. (This report uses median rather than mean or average figures for salary and percentage changes to eliminate distortions caused by extremes at the high or low ends of the responses.)

All IT employees, regardless of gender, report few job perks beyond the standard health insurance and 401(k) match accounts. In fact, interns at top-tier tech companies generally fare better in the perks department than the average corporate IT employee.

For example, when asked which types of non-cash or indirect cash awards they expected to receive this year, only 2% of all IT staff respondents and 4% of all IT management respondents cited daycare or daycare subsidies. Likewise, only 3% of staffers and 6% of managers said they expect Sabbatical or extended vacation time from their company.

Rewards for the Next 12 Months

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Yet, when asked what matters most to them about their jobs, flexible work schedules and vacation time/paid time off ranked high on the list for managers and staffers alike. More than four in ten staffers (42%) cited a flexible work schedule, as did 38% of managers.

Likewise, 42% of staffers and 33% of managers cited vacation time/paid time off as among the job factors that matter most. One quarter (25%) of IT staffers and 17% of IT managers cited telecommuting/work-from-home options. (Survey respondents were able to choose up to seven answers to this question; daycare and daycare subsidies were not offered among the multiple choice options to this question in the survey.)

In a Wall Street Journal post last month, Brad Grossman, founder of cultural think-tank Zeitguide, discussed how the gender gap in tech may be introducing unconscious bias into the algorithms we use for machine learning.

Grossman writes: "If algorithms learn from users, but the users are mostly men, what are the machines learning?" He cites examples such as an experiment run by Carnegie Mellon researchers last year that found that Google's Ad Settings program delivered ads for jobs paying above $200,000 to male online profiles six times more often than to female profiles.

Research compiled in 2015 by the Anita Borg Institute found that women in tech jobs leave at twice the rate of men by mid-career. The group cites a 2011 study by the University of Wisconsin of more than 1,000 women in which the following reasons were given by women for leaving engineering jobs -- mostly in favor of other careers:

  • Working conditions: no advancement, too many hours, low salary
  • Work-life integration: wanted more time with family, conflict with family, or too much travel
  • Didn't like the work: lost interest or didn't like the daily tasks
  • Organizational climate: didn't like the culture, boss, or coworkers

Do your own experiences working in IT correlate with our research findings? How does your compensation stack up?

Do you think men and women in IT are treated equally? Does your workplace offer the perks you need to achieve work-life balance? We want to hear from you. Tell us all about it in the comments section below.