Tech & Work

Dice Salary Survey: Tech's problem isn't a pay gap, it's a position gap

Instead of looking at a pay gap between men and women in tech, a new report from Dice explores the disparity in job roles, and the money attached to them.

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Image: Dice

A new report from tech jobs site Dice explores the difference in pay between men and women in the technology industry.

Dice's Salary Survey shows that on average, men earned $91,362 in 2014, while women earned about $81,651. Despite the roughly $10,000 difference, Dice says the idea of there being a pay gap is inaccurate.

"On the surface, obviously, you can see there's a definitive gender pay gap between male and female salaries," said Dice president Shravan Goli. The report takes a look at why that is. "Then you can start addressing why there's a real pay gap between men and women," he said.

In part, what accounts for that disparity in pay, the report said, is differences between men and women on average in years of experience and levels of education.

According to the survey, "Once controlling for these variables, average salaries for male and female tech professionals with parallel job titles are relatively equal, with companies placing more heavily weighted significance on the number of years a professional has in the industry."

Though, the story just doesn't end with a modified view on the pay gap.

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Image: Dice

The data they collected showed that when looking at men and women, they hold an almost totally different set of positions in tech. In each group's Top 10 Occupations List, only two jobs — project manager and applications developer — are held in common.

Goli said the findings were both surprising and unsurprising.

"We all work in technology organizations, we've seen some of this play out," he said.

The salary differential between the two lists is significant, the report said. Average salaries for men in the top ten positions range from $92,245 to $127,750. For women, the range is $43,068 to $98,328.

"This large-scale difference in salary ranges ($29,422 to $49,177) demonstrates that the higher paying tech positions are more commonly held by men than by women," the report said.

Dice identified the next logical question as being "why more of these positions are not being filled by females?"

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While not landing on a conclusion, the report said "societal and lifestyle factors" may be at play.

As far as what these factors could be, there's a range of possibilities from the fact that there have been fewer women coming up in the industry since the 80s (just 18% of computer science majors are women), to obstacles women face in workplace, and even in the hiring process — things like conscious and unconscious biases, which can affect any minority, but can have a long term impact on how people are hired, promoted, or treated on a day-to-day basis.

As for what tech companies interested in creating equitable environments for their employees should be doing given this information, Goli said they should be figuring out how they can help women in tech to grow into these other types of roles and help them develop skills.

"There's a real opportunity as you change your positions, there's a real opportunity as you develop those skills, and then welcoming women into those positions and roles as they gain those skills," Goli said.

He said it's important to be open about why that gap exists in the positions where it exists.

The report also covered compensation satisfaction.

"They're about equally satisfied, men and women in the tech industry, with the salaries they're getting," Goli said.

Still, more women (35%) report dissatisfaction than men (31%).

"There's more frustration on the women's side in the salaries," Goli said. "For companies to be able to better understand why this gap exists, would help them to realize the path forward."

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About Erin Carson

Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.

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