IT Employment

Pay discrepancy between men and women in IT is a real kick in the skirt

Several years ago, I "learned" about the salary discrepancy between men and women. I thought that this kick in the skirt was just something for those of us women who are privileged to live in the United States. According to a recent story by CNET Network's News.com, I guess I was wrong. Furthermore, these women aren't taking it lightly. Check out the article: "<a href="http://www.news.com/2100-1022_3-6206078.html" title="British women in tech jobs" target="_blank">British women in tech jobs: I quit</a>."

Several years ago, I "learned" about the salary discrepancy between men and women. I thought that this kick in the skirt was just something for those of us women who are privileged to live in the United States. According to a recent story by CNET Network's News.com, I guess I was wrong. Furthermore, these women aren't taking it lightly. Check out the article: "British women in tech jobs: I quit."

As you could probably guess from the title, women in the U.K. are getting fed up with their IT jobs, or at least that's what the research efforts from the Chartered Management Institute and pay researcher Remuneration Economics show. Here are some of the stats:

  • 5.7 percent of women working in IT resigned from their roles in 2006, a rise of 2.1 percent from the previous year
  • Women saw an average pay rise of 2.9 percent, compared to a 3.1 percent increase for men (this is the first time in 11 years that men's earnings have risen more than women's)

The National Management Salary Survey, however, found that "British female managers enjoy faster promotion than men, with a 37-year-old woman working as a team leader typically five years younger than her male counterpart."

Women are also more likely to receive a bonus than men, with just less than half in the IT sector (46.5 percent) receiving one-off bonus payments in 2006, compared to 30.8 percent of men. But these bonuses tend to be about 30 percent lower than men's--and make up a lower proportion of the total pay packet.

Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs at CMI, said gender bias appears to be getting worse because the increased likelihood of promotion is not reflected in parity of pay.

If you are an IT manager, how do you carefully balance salaries, promotions, pay increases, and bonuses between the men and women on your team in order to avoid gender bias?

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

46 comments
jdclyde
jdclyde

:D I figured my title should be just as much BS as the article is. When there is a scientific analysis of this showing that women doing the same work, putting in the same hours, and being on THAT job for the same time, and STILL make less, THEN you will get my attention that there is some kind of problem. Until then, this is just another "I'm a victim, feel sorry for me!" story. In general, men have traditionally put in more over-time while women have traditionally left work more to attend to family needs. This is NOT being an equal worker, deserving of equal pay. I would say the same if it was the guy leaving for other commitments while the woman stayed late and did the extra things required to get ahead. The one that is there is the only one deserving of "more", regardless of gender. Lets test this. Sonja, do you and Beth make equal pay to Smorty and Jay, or does being "only" a woman have you on a lower pay scale? Don't worry, I don't really expect an answer.

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

I always wondered how people knew what their peers make... That's not proper, in my book. At any rate, JD, how do you know that: In general, men have traditionally put in more over-time while women have traditionally left work more to attend to family needs. If that is a historical reference from, say, 30 or more years ago, then it can easily be asserted that they left because they weren't being properly valued as a company asset. Hell, if I am being paid 20% less than anyone else for the same job, you can expect me to work a lot less overtime.

jdclyde
jdclyde

EVERY study that looks at more than the tax return shows the same things, men in general work more hours under harder conditions and travel further. This is not to say that straight sexism can and has happened, but with our sue happy society, it is rare. [b]http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/28/commentary/everyday/sahadi/index.htm[/b] [i]"People who do best in a field (financially) just plain put in more hours," said Farrell, a former board member of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)."[/i] [b]http://www.reason.com/news/show/119920.html[/b] [i]On its face, the evidence in the AAUW study looks damning. "One year out of college," it says, "women working full-time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn."[/i] [i]Even before they have kids, men and women often do different things that may affect earnings. A year out of college, notes AAUW, women in full-time jobs work an average of 42 hours a week, compared to 45 for men. Men are also far more likely to work more than 50 hours a week. Buried in the report is a startling admission: "After accounting for all factors known to affect wages, about one-quarter of the gap remains unexplained and may be attributed to discrimination" (my emphasis). Another way to put it is that three-quarters of the gap clearly has innocent causes -- and that we actually don't know whether discrimination accounts for the rest.[/i] [b]http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_24/b3887065.htm[/b] [i] Outright discrimination against women probably accounts for only about 10 percentage points of the pay gap, according to numerous studies. The bulk of the problem, then, lies with the conflicting needs and norms of society and employers. A majority of men and women still work in largely sex-segregated occupations, Rose and Hartmann's study shows, leaving many women stuck in lower-paying jobs such as cashiers and maids.[/i]

louise.obryan
louise.obryan

ARE YOU KIDDING????????? PAY PEOPLE THE SAME. ALSO DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM HOLDING THE REVEIWERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR CURRENT DETERMINATIONS & PROPERLY ASSESSING DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS PER PERSON- SETING UP MINI-PROGRESS REVIEWS 1/4LY OR BI-YRLY. SERIOUS FOLLOW-UP OVER TIME WILL WEED OUT THE BIGOTS, HIGHLIGHT BOTH STRONG & WEAK PERFORMERS ON ALL LEVELS AND DEVELOP A BEST PRACTICES MODEL FOR REWARDING INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL.

lschuchardt
lschuchardt

Yes. It's hard to be content with this reality.

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

In a given field for a given position, women make the same, if not more than men. The myth that women make less is based upon the overall average of ALL salaries for ALL jobs. This ignores the brutal reality that women typically work in different fields. In the IT field, women actually make more than men overall. Think about it people - if companies could pay women less for the same work, you'd see far fewer men with a job.

AugustUser
AugustUser

I think you are wrong Eric. I have been working in the IT field for 7 years. I hold the titles: IS Manager; Telecom Manager; Security Officer. I am responsible for 4 seperate sites, all the paperwork and documentation as well as overseeing all IT functions. I make about $20,000 less than the male counterparts in my geographic area. Of course I will say that it is partly my own fault. I choose to stay here. I think women typically accept lower pay for the same jobs. I also think overall there are more men in the work place because women are still the main homemakers. BTW: Where did you get your statistics? Mine are from the Department of Labor.

kkessey
kkessey

As a network engineer, I'm used to being the only woman, and used to getting paid less. 12 years ago I worked for a large telco in Dallas, was one pay grade below all the guys doing the same job - even those who had less experience, skills, and education. I got up the nerve to point this out to my boss, he told me "the guys all have families to support - you don't. Besides, they are in it for the long haul. You're here until you get married." So, why don't they hire more women if they can pay them less? The same reason in the 60s backward southerners wouldn't hire African Americans: they think women are inferior - aren't as capable, intelligent, or whatever the excuse is. Many people need to feel they are better than someone else not by merit but by some physical or class based distinction. I found this was distinctly NOT the case when working in California - I was treated and paid as an equal. Texas just hasn't paid it out of the dark ages yet.

maecuff
maecuff

Men work harder? Take less time? More willing to travel? Says who? Off the top of my head, I can come up with 3 former or current male co-workers who work VERY hard at getting out of work. It's just plain silly to make a blanket statement that men work harder than women. That's ridiculous. Some humans work harder than other humans. Some humans are more likely to travel than other humans. This is not gender specific.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

So you think women get paid as much as men even though it's a fact that they don't work as hard they work less and stay at or nearer to home. Hope your code makes more sense than you do.

jdclyde
jdclyde

no one here showed where men work harder than women.... I have never seen anything stating their efforts and/or results are less than that of men.

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

If you dont like your company - leave. If you dont like Austin, move. Your singular anecdotal example does not mean every man in the entire state of Texas, or even the city of Austin, let alone the entire male sex, considers women inferior. Fact is, as many have pointed out (male and female alike) is men work more hours, work harder, tend to not take time off for family and are more likely to travel when needed.

jdclyde
jdclyde

but that is because I negotiated a higher wage when I got hired in. They OFFERED me the same scale she was at, and I knew I was worth more so I turned the job down. They called me back a week later with a better offer. That is not sexism, and she does not deserve a raise just because I demanded more to do what I do.

JamesRL
JamesRL

It would be almost impossible to do that. Managers who consistently paid women less, or put them in a lower payscale would stick out like a sore thumb waiting to be hammered. I'm not denying it still exists some places, but its not been the rule at any employer I've worked at in 20 years. James

blandinavian
blandinavian

The discrepancy is real. The biases are real. I too have been on the receiving end of the "they have families to support..." Old attitudes that don't seem to be going away despite the new generations of managers taking over from the moldy oldies.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

If you are an IT manager, how do you carefully balance salaries, promotions, pay increases, and bonuses between the men and women on your team in order to avoid gender bias?

baquaviva
baquaviva

I don't do any balancing between men and women for salaries, promotions, increases, or bonuses. The better performer gets the bigger raise, the bigger bonus, the promotion, and the higher salary. Gender shouldn't matter, and although it still does in many places, it doesn't with me.

Inkling
Inkling

Two different circumstances. My wife works at a black college. She had some issues with her boss, so I asked the HR manager at my former company for some advice. The first thing out of my HR manager's mouth was, "Well she's white at a black college and she's a woman, so she shouldn't have [b]anything[/b] to worry about!" Now that is discrimination. I was thinking about applying for an officer commissioning program when I was in the Marine Corps. The Master Gunnery Sergeant I talked to (a black male) said that I already had a hit against me because I am a white male. Yes, there is discrimination against sex, race, and sexual preference (obesity, ugly people, etc, etc, etc...) in our society. The only person that it is, not only legal, but practically necessary due to equal opportunity laws, to discriminate against, is the white male. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own circumstances. If you don't like them, change them.

r_kerlin
r_kerlin

Inkling you said that we are all "responsible for our own circumstances" and that if we don't like them we should change them. Well, you know that there are lots of negative circumstances always hammering at a person or a family, from all sides right? And that one person probably doesn't have enough time or resources to fix every problem that comes their way, quickly enough so that they aren't adversely affected? And you know that people actually are social animals and we really aren't capable of all that much unless we act in groups, and can draw as needed on the strengths and safeties that the group brings us, right? Effectively you're saying that, given the premise that there's a group mindset at work here that operates to pay women less, women are on our own. One against many, that's our lot. Or do I misunderstand? As a female, I've experienced bias in the workplace. It exhibited in pay discrepancies and also in the level of respect accorded to the female voice of authority vs the male. As a stalwart individual I sure did bring this up, but it wasn't really heeded. Only after moving on, when a few of us including a former manager, ended up at dinner together and the topic was raised and other women agreed that this had been the case, did my manager realize that it really wasn't just my personal perception. So, it seems that a single voice isn't always as effective the group voice - would you agree? Besides, perhaps it's the case that by opening the discussion here, women are in fact attempting to do something about the problem. And so, to say that we're supposed to "change the situation on our own" sort of minimizes the fact that, in fact, that's what we're attempting to do - here and now. Cheers.

rob mekel
rob mekel

I don't!!!! That is balance salaries between gender differences. Neither increases nor bonuses are balanced. The one that deserves it gets it or not. A job is scaled on whats it worth to the company. Within the scale, the level is determind by seniority of experience. Bonuses are only given for exstreamly wel performing and only on yearly basis. Raises are given yearly as settled by worklaborunion for the business. So no differences by gender. And why sould there be. I know that in some countries/companies it is. Shame on them. And as some do say ... get over it if there are differences ... go for the better job/company that doesn't make that kinda differences. Rob

Shellbot
Shellbot

just curious..have you ever had to give a raise to a woman because you were scared she'd complain if you didn't?? I've heard of that happening in some places.. ps..i'm nicely rested from my holiday..it was lovely and warm in spain!

Shellbot
Shellbot

thought about it..then again thought about doing a lot of things..sadly everytime we thought about doing something either we needed to go to the beach..or take a nap..or suddenly a drink would appear in my hands and after a few..didn't really want to move.. next time :)

rob mekel
rob mekel

a scenario of a movie ... :) :D :^0 ;) Never did never will ... blackmail ... hate it, will never allow it. Oh and to be more correct ... got a raise ;) from a woman [i]woohoo ... I freely admit ... that happens[/i] Nice to hear you had a lovely holiday. ... now just a few day's and ... yes I'm off :) Rob

neilb
neilb

Did you get to Barcelona?

sudocoaching
sudocoaching

I researched this a couple of years ago and wrote an article on it for Business and Professional Women of New Jersey. Go to http://www.sudocoaching.com/resources.shtml and click on the "76 cents" link. It turns out that women tech managers and women sales techs, statistically speaking, earn a little more than their male peers in the US. The Labor department doesn't publicize this because of insufficient data, but the data that they do have is pretty promising for these two positions at least. With most high pay jobs requiring technical or scientific skills, it's important that we take the lead in pay equity. For more info, see the book _Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth behind the pay gap - and what women can do about it" by Warren Farrell. Lots of Labor dept data in there, broken out by profession.

BlueKnight
BlueKnight

While I agree that there is some disparity in compensation in some organizations, there is none where I currently work. The public sector has its advantages, but bonuses isn't one of them. When I was managing, I always used the same performance "guage" for all my employees, and made sure I did as good a job as I could when evaluating employee performance. Nobody ever comoplained to me or about me as a result.

Shellbot
Shellbot

I think the statistics given are not solid enough to comment on. I mean really: "5.7 percent of women working in IT resigned from their roles in 2006, a rise of 2.1 percent from the previous year " what the heck is that susposed to mean???? Give me reasons.. did they go to better jobs? did they go to higher paying jobs? did they go to a job with better holidays? or shorter hours? or flexi-time? or more benifits? come on, I'm female and looking for a new job right now.. guess why?? I'm annoyed with my current job..i'm looking for one i will like better..and woo hoo..99% chance I'm going to make about 3-5 grand more at it.. Here's a little tidbit..if the next job interview i go to doesn't offer me enough..i won't take it..its not like they gonna put me in jail for turning it down.. and if i take that job and find out the guy next me makes 3 grand more..boo fecking hoo..he's maybe been there longer, or has more education, or is sleeping with the female CEO..whatever.. Now yes..there are some dinosaurs that take the "but a man has a family to look after" approach....tip: look for a new job. Stand up for yourseleves girls..no one else will..if your worth more, prove it..ask for it..whatever..if you don't get it..move along..

jdclyde
jdclyde

I figured it wouldn't take long for one of the stronger willed women in the field to step up and say it like it is. In corporations, they can't AFFORD to now have a set pay scale for a set job. In smaller organizations, there are ALWAYS some people that make more than others for reasons that have nothing to do with gender. Sometimes they are just a good brown noser... :0

jdclyde
jdclyde

"I will buy you dinner if you will spend time with me". And if it makes you feel better, instead of "bought", how about "short term lease"? How many men do you know personally that have turned down a woman who asked them out for dinner? I would bet the number is very low, if any.

cupcake
cupcake

So if I ask a guy to dinner (and pay for it) then I should expect that I am buying "sex" from him? Why is it said that taking someone on a date equals sex? Another male slant, uh, more like bias. Many men wouldn't go out with a woman who asked a guy to dinner, THEY were brought up that it isn't proper. I don't think its fair that men are expected to always pay for a date, who ever asks should pay. But isn't somewhat shallow to assume that a man asking a woman on a date that they are then "bought"? "Traditional" be damned... everything should be equitable as possible.

jdclyde
jdclyde

It is pretty funny how women won't straight out sell sex, but they can still be indirectly "bought" with some food and a few shiny gifts. Many women won't ask a guy out for dinner because they were brought up that it isn't "proper". The traditional roles are still there, but only complained about when it is one not in womens favor?

cupcake
cupcake

The only thing I agree with is that whoever asks should pay (for dinner, drinks, movies, etc)... apparently if men are paying for the majority of this, they must be wanting the company of a woman.

Shellbot
Shellbot

of all men isn't it JD? but really..you wouldn't want it..]:)

JamesRL
JamesRL

In my organization and I believe in many organizations here (Canada/US) if you take a year off as you are entitled to do, you come back at exactly the same position you were in when you left. Meanwhile your peers have gone through another annual raise. Have a couple of kids and you can be substantially behind the pay curve when compared to someone who started at the same time as you. Wether the kids were worth it is entirely up to you. :) James

jdclyde
jdclyde

I believe that what I need is a good woman that will start to pay my bills, clean my house, and STILL have my pipe and slippers waiting when I get home from golfing all day! :p And then her and her three supermodel friends can give me a nice massage later on while they feed me my dinner...... ah, the good life! B-)

Shellbot
Shellbot

i also expect a man to pay when going out for dinner, drinks, movies etc..(unless I have done the inviting..) so my man needs to make a bit more money than me ]:) :)

Shellbot
Shellbot

I just get tired of people moaning about sh!t all the time..fair enough, some people are affected by these things, but they generally have the power to change the situation. I think in some places women have it pretty good. In Ireland all sorts of maternity leave and family leave..that a guy isn't entitled to..neither am i for that matter. I have a friend who in the past 4 years has been out for 2 of those on maternity leave. She has kept her pay raises and status..so wanna talk about fair?? The guy working next to her makes the same amount and has been working his @ss off for 4 years for his employer, yet she has only worked two years. I am not having children, so I am in the same position as the guy. My female counterparts make the same even though they have less working experience..so whatever. I'm sure someone is going to tear me a new one for this, thats ok..I'm a bit old fashioned..my hubby takes out the garbage and i do the dishes..who the heck cares. :) hehehe.."stronger willed"..very polite way of putting it JD :)

JamesRL
JamesRL

I use the same methodology I have always used, even though the number of women on my team has dramatically increased. We have one method for calculating pay increases, and another for bonuses, and both are entirely gender neutral. We pay for performance. Every pay scale has a median - people below the median can more easily make a larger increase than someone above. Bonuses are based on the company's performance and individual objectives. I do NOT like the implication that I and my company are sexist pigs trying to pay women less. Nothing could be further from the truth. I notice in the article that they mention leaving rates for women increasing - there was no mention of the same rates for men - and that is deceptive at best, and perhaps disingenous. James

prime12357
prime12357

Sensationalist journalism attempts to create furor. In this case by reporting how one group in society is not being treated fairly. These articles report statistics as if they are facts without reporting how the information was gathered. Voluntary surveys like these are considered garbage by the scientific statistical community. No one seems to have a problem with women being promoted on average 5 years ahead of men. Or with women more likely to receive bonuses. And note that only salaries for the same job classes are being compared. So if a woman is promted 5 years before her male contemporaries in age, her salary and theirs are not compared. Her salary is compared to the men who are 5 years her senior.