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Career Strategies for Women in Tech

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The Gender Pay Gap – Women in Tech Close the Margin


We have all heard the news; women earn less than men and in most industries that difference is significant. Equal Pay Day, recognized on April 14 each year represents the number of days into a new year that women and minorities have to work to earn equivalent to what a man earned the prior year.

That is just so disappointing.

In a related note; a woman will now grace the face of the Ten Dollar Bill effective in 2020 in recognition of the 100th anniversary of a woman receiving the right to vote. I just saw a meme on Facebook that asks the question:

If a woman is now on the Ten Dollar bill will that mean that it is only worth $7.70?

Happily, the pay gap is not as significant in the world of IT. Women in technology fields are earning almost the same as men. Take a look at this chart from Career Watch:

pay gapo

Only 8% of computer network architects are women, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the bad news. But those women come very close, on average, to making the same amount of money as the 92% of computer network architects who are men.

Network architect is one of two IT-related occupations to show up on Money’s list of the 25 careers with the smallest wage gap between men and women, which the magazine compiled in observation of Equal Pay Day on April 14.

The other IT-related job category was “Computer occupations, all other.” It’s worth noting that for nine of the careers on the list, women on average earn more than men.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has done an amazing job of explaining the differences in the pay gap, even in the world of tech, and also offering suggestions for how to decrease the margins. Here are some of their findings:

• Women in every state experience the pay gap, but some states are worse than others.

The best place in the United States for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 91 percent of what men were paid in 2013. At the other end of the spectrum is Louisiana, the worst state in the country for pay equity, where women were paid just 66 percent of what men were paid.

• The pay gap is worse for women of color.

The gender pay gap affects all women, but for women of color the pay shortfall is worse. Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 90 percent of white men’s earnings. Hispanic women’s salaries show the largest gap, at 54 percent of white men’s earnings. White men are used as a benchmark because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force.

• Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.

From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.

• The pay gap grows with age.

Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men are paid.

• While more education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not an effective tool against the gender pay gap.

At every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education. While education helps everyone, black and Hispanic women earn less than their white and Asian peers do, even when they have the same educational credentials.

• The pay gap also exists among women without children.

AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap found that among full-time workers one year after college graduation — nearly all of whom were childless — women were paid just 82 percent of what their male counterparts were paid.

Following are their recommendations to make a difference in the pay gap:

  • For companies: While some CEOs have been vocal in their commitment to paying workers fairly, American women can’t wait for trickle-down change. AAUW urges companies to conduct salary audits to proactively monitor and address gender-based pay differences. It’s just good business.
  • For individuals: Women can learn strategies to better negotiate for fair pay. Improved negotiation skills can help close the pay gap.
  • For policymakers: The Paycheck Fairness Act would improve the scope of the Equal Pay Act, which hasn’t been updated since 1963, with stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, enhance federal enforcement efforts, and prohibit retaliation against workers asking about wage practices. Tell the Congress to take action for equal pay.

In future articles will we explore further the best ways to negotiate a more appropriate salary. In the meantime, check out this listing of the best places to work in the field of IT. There’s also this compact list of the 56 large, 18 midsize and 26 small organizations that ranked as Computerworld.

JJ DiGeronimo - Tech Savvy Women - http://bit.ly/TSWNewsletter

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