IT Employment

Wage discrepancies between women and men may surprise you


By that title, I'm not talking about the fact that, historically and on average, women make lower salaries than men performing the same job do. I'm talking about what appears to be a new trend, if you can believe a recent analysis completed by the Department of Sociology at Queens College in New York.The report, released August 3, indicates that salaries of full-time female employees in their 20s have surpassed the same-aged males in urban areas like Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Dallas and New York. However, women's salaries lagged behind in areas like Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia. According to a piece in eWeek, women in their '20s earned 17 percent more than their male counterparts, and in Dallas, they earned 20 percent more.

But what about IT workers?

Dice, the IT staffing firm, released a report in January that indicated women in IT earned on average 9.7 percent less than men in 2006.

"This narrowed slightly from the year prior when the difference was 10.9 percent. The IT gender gap was largest among database administrators, at 15 percent."

But when the report delved into specific job titles, the news was a little different. Women with job titles such as help desk professionals earned an average 4.8 percent more than their male counterparts, and technical writers 2.5 percent more. Female CEOs, CIOs, chief technology officers, vice presidents, and directors earned 1.4 percent more than male IT executives.

While in the sources I saw, this latter piece of news was considered promising, I have to wonder, though. I think wage discrepancies between the sexes are bad, no matter who comes out ahead. A man and a woman doing the same job should be paid the same.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

16 comments
RknRlKid
RknRlKid

While I am glad that there seems to be some balancing of pay inequalities, there are always other factors to be considered. I am skeptical of wage statistics, especially national ones. There are other factors too. I wish I had kept the study on the "glass ceiling." This study basically showed that the glass ceiling effect so highly touted in the media wasn't what it was paraded out to be. Instead of looking at numbers, the new study interviewed actual people, and found that many women looked up at the stress the big bosses had, and decided they didn't want it, or that it conflicted with their own personal priorities. There was no glass ceiling; these women intentionally decided they didn't want to go further. Men do that too. I know that I have more training, education, experience and certifications than my current job requires. But it was a conscious decision to take it. I got tired of the headaches of being in the management track. I didn't want to be responsible for knuckleheads any more, I only wanted to be responsible for me. So, while I have the experience to run the entire organization, I prefer not to. I'd rather not have the headaches and have a personal life instead. The problem with this type article (and this way of thinking) is that ultimately success=money. Success has nothing to do with money. Everyone has their own idea of success. I may not be rich, but I definitely consider myself successful (and can prove it by accomplishments, too). If your life sucks (because of your job or your personal life), all the money in the world can't fix that.

kumvnode
kumvnode

Women make much less salaries than man doing the same work.. because most of their time in the office goes for 1.) cracking jokes 2.) laughing. 3.) impressing the boss. 4.) polishing themselves. 5.) visiting toilet upteem times.. 6.) makeup and shining themselves.. causing much less work productivity...hence justified in this way

george
george

Who gives a rat's tail? People get paid what they get paid. Whining about salary because you do or don't have something swinging in the breeze is for losers and journalists, but I repeat myself.

shirtbird
shirtbird

I can't speak for women in IT making more than their male counterparts, but I was reading somewhere (maybe even here?) that the reason for the discrepancy between men and women traditionally, even when education and experience levels are taken into effect, is that men are better at negotiating salaries, and are not penalized socially (as women are) when they do so. Hence, men make more doing the same work. I'm no scientist, but there were a couple of studies cited, and I thought the results were interesting and worth discussion at the least. Perhaps the wage discrepancy in IT is overcompensation for past inconsistencies? Either that or there is a "female premium" in science fields...I have a few female friends in the maths and sciences who had companies practically knocking down their doors, while male friends went several months without a job. A kind of professional affirmative action, I guess.

walens5
walens5

Although twenty-something women are beginning to surpass their male counterparts in some metro markets, we should note when that tapers off and women's salaries stagnate. Young women entering the work force are starting out strong, but often times get their priorities re-situated by other elements of life - like children and marriage - which may put them on the "mommy track" at work or redefine their priorities in the workplace. Many women will choose a job with less responsibility (ie:stress) in order to comfortably fit work with everything else going on in life. Check out Anna Fels "Necessary Dreams"

Freebird54
Freebird54

Much more to the point than worrying about equivalence. Not that the worrying WASN'T needed - but those days appear to have passed. Now we can worry about being offshored or outsourced instead :) But what it really comes down to for most - do you live to work? or work to live? For me, I had my time with the first, and now enjoy the second....

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

kumvnode said "...man doing the same work.. because most of their time in the office goes for.." Yes, I have noticed many of my male colleagues doing these things, also. I just don't know why we should get paid more because of it. And you forgot: 7) Discussing sport 8) Making sexist comments/jokes 9) Discussing cars 10) Browsing TechRepublic discussions (sorry, I meant "doing valuable research") You are right, sport, it IS funny. And the joke is on us blokes.

Bizzo
Bizzo

I see no humour there, maybe you're serious? Can you spell misogynist?

saybm1
saybm1

there is always someone that wants to stop the discourse so they can talk about something "important" .. like..... the fact is, wage discrepancies are real and if left unchecked will always benefit the "who cares" mentality people. social discourse is not whining and although polls can be deceiving this particular topic is very important.

IT-b
IT-b

I don't know how they can even compare on one criteria, like gender. In the IT shops I've been in (and there have been many), there are so many different types of people doing the same job title. I see both men and women wasting time, while other men and women pick up their slack and work their tails off. Experience tends to earn more. Changing companies often tends to earn more. People who take initiative tend to earn more. Gender just isn't a huge factor... Besides, it's been my experience that the people most worried about their salary, are the ones doing the least work. The others don't have to worry about their salary. If they're doing great work, and the salary doesn't come along, they move on.

dogknees
dogknees

It only make sense to compare the salary paid to a male and a female in the same job. Comparing a level one exec's salary to a middle managers is meaningless. Remember, it's your choice to get on the "mommy track". No one but you and your spouse make this choice. Like all choices it carries benefits and costs, and it's up to the individual/couple to decide where they want to be. If your (male) spouse earns less than you, make him the primary care giver. It's not that unusual today. You say that "Many women will choose a job with less responsibility (ie:stress) in order to comfortably fit work with everything else going on in life". It may come as a surprise that men can do the same! The sort of gender roles that you seem to assume exist are ancient history. If you still believe in them, it means you're a fossil. It doesn't mean that they are still useful and meaningful, they're not. Regards

Mr_Fen
Mr_Fen

it all depends on your own perception of worth, if you are happy doing your job and the monetary rewards you recieve are good, then fair play. If another person of 'either sex' gets paid more or less than you to do the same job its up to that individuals talents and skill set. I work with women doing the same role as me getting paid both more and less due to their personal circumstances. I work with men who are exactly the same. I believe its all down to personal motivation, if you feel undervalued move to a better location. If you are happy, stay. its all relative to the local conditions and environments, pinning a diffence in wages solely on sex is pointless.

keeleyt83
keeleyt83

So both men and women goof around at work. What's new? Well, back to work. Done with my "research"... :)

Freebird54
Freebird54

spell it just fine. I have worked in places like that - and if it is your ONLY experience, it can turn you pretty sour :) Interestingly, I have never seen the described behaviour in an office 'run' by a female manager - everybody works! Maybe that's why they are gaining in the salary race?

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

I heard of one company that posted everybody's wages on a noticeboard. No secrets - no claims of unfair rewards. If you see that someone with the same job is getting more than you, you go to your boss and ask why. You discuss how to improve your output to match the output of of the better paid person, or what qualification to get, or whatever else it is that makes the difference. This way, everybody who truly is doing the same job gets paid the same. Those who have the same job title but don't do the same amount of work, don't. I love this idea. It really bugs me that I am way more qualified, have a greater range of responsibilities, produce more and better results than a colleague who gets more money than me. < spits out pacifier and bawls ;) > I would move to a communist country if it wasn't clear that people cheat the system there just as much as everywhere else, and there are just as many inequalities as here. I am a fan of equal opportunity for women and ethnic minorities because as long as we collude with unfairness (by not speaking up), we keep the doors open for people to be unfair to the rest of us.

The family Jules
The family Jules

Only communists think people should be paid the same, regardless of actual work performance. That's why my mom and her family came to the US. People should be paid what they believe they are worth.

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