Salary Gap Still Exists For Women In IT

Women still make less than men in IT, and the gap seems to be growing.
Women still make less than men in IT, and the gap seems to be growing. Male IT staffers make about $7,000 a year more than women in total compensation, compared with a $6,000 difference last year.

At the staff level, men received a $2,000 increase in median base pay, women $1,000, according to InformationWeek Research's 2002 National IT Salary Survey, which includes data from 1,385 female IT professionals and 7,850 male IT professionals.

For women in management, it's only slightly better. Men reported a $3,000 median base salary raise, compared with $2,000 for women. Female IT managers earn median total cash compensation of $80,000, including base salary and bonuses, which is $10,000 less than male IT managers.

Julie Fergerson, the co-founder and VP of emerging technologies at ClearCommerce Corp., an E-payments services firm in Austin, Texas, has a theory. Men are more likely than women to jump from job to job, and that paid off during the years when the job market was robust. "Women tend to stay in the same job for three to five years, due in part to ownership and pride in the work," she says.

Carolyn Leighton, president and founder of the association Women In Technology International, says there's also institutional discrimination at work. "Both men and women tend to hire in their own image, but with an old-boy network at the top, it's more difficult for women to climb at those companies," Leighton says. The best way for women to improve their salary status is to understand their skills and strengths, and negotiate tactfully and professionally for what that's worth, she says.

Jo Haraf, CIO of San Francisco law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, has been able to move up throughout her technology career, though it's meant stops in Seattle; Providence, R.I.; Washington; and San Francisco. She says it's sometimes necessary to go elsewhere, especially if you're not being treated as an equal. Says Haraf, "The best way to punish a bad firm is by leaving."