Women in tech are still paid less than men in most US states

With the salary differential reaching $16,000 in some regions, female techies remain at a significant disadvantage to their male counterparts, Dice report finds.

It's 2020, and the gender pay gap in tech persists. While efforts and attention to the issue have increased, women in tech are still paid less than men on average—in some cases more than $16,000 less—even with factors including experience, roles, location, and education are controlled for, a Dice report found

SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving workplace diversity (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Ahead of International Women's Day on Mar. 8, Dice released its Gender Pay Gap in Tech report on Monday. The report uncovers the ongoing disparities women in tech face, specifically with salaries and benefits, compared to male coworkers. 

The report's message is underscored by the theme of this year's International Women's Day: #EachForEqual. According to an article on Wednesday from the World Economic Forum, "[The theme] seeks to draw attention to the idea that gender inequality isn't a women's issue, but an economic one – as gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive." 

"Despite women being early innovators in the technology field, societal norms have trended more toward technological roles being geared toward men, especially in leadership," said Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group Inc., parent company to Dice. "Due to the stereotypes pervasive in most employment sectors, additional issues arise around the lesser rate at which women might apply to roles in which they may be equally or more qualified than their male counterparts.

"Similarly, we know that men are more likely to negotiate salaries and benefits, which is something we hope to shift in creating a space in tech where women feel empowered to negotiate higher salaries and receive benefits that matter most to them," Zeile added. 

The Dice report highlights salary disparities across states, pay differentials across tech occupations, and mismatched benefits between genders.

Pay gap across states 

In nearly every US state, women in tech are paid less than men. Utah had the highest salary differential, at $16,871, the report found. 

These were the 10 states with the widest gender pay gaps: 

  1. Utah (-$16,871)
  2. Alabama (-$16,660)
  3. Illinois (-$11,375)
  4. Arkansas (-$10,821)
  5. Colorado (-$9,687)
  6. Connecticut (-$9,203) 
  7. Michigan (-$8,971)
  8. New York (-$8,914)
  9. Missouri (-$8,871)
  10. Georgia (-$8,314)

The report also broke the country into eight key regions, listing the average pay gap for each one: 

1. Rocky Mountains (-$9,720)
2. Great Lakes (-$8,653)
3. Mid Eastern (-$7,074)
4. Southeast (-$6,471)
5. New England (-$6,444)
6. Far West (-$4,667)
7. Southwest (-$4,086)
8. Plains (-$3,309)

Of all the featured states, the report said the only one with a positive differential was Minnesota (+$3,929). While that isn't a large gap, it still indicates a win for female technologists, the report found. 

Salary discrepancies by occupation 

The pay gaps become even wider when looking at various tech roles, according to the report. The study controls for years of experience, education level and location. 

Data architects held one of the highest pay differentials, at -$13,123. Demand for data architects have increased in the past few years, rising by 15% in the previous two years alone. Despite demand increasing, the gender pay gap remains wide, the report found. 

The following 10 occupations had the largest pay disparities. The sample size for these roles had at least 40 respondents. 

1. Data architect (-$13,123)
2. Database administrator (-$11,053)
3. Data scientist (-$9,561)
4. Data engineer (-$9,242)
5. Software engineer (-$8,559)
6. Security engineer (-$6,847)
7. Technical recruiter (-$6,811)
8. Business analyst (-$6,455)
9. Project manager (-$5,068)
10. Product manager (-$4,709)

Employee satisfaction levels

Women are generally less satisfied with their compensation. Some 38% of women reported being dissatisfied with their pay, compared to 33% of men, the report found.

Female technologists also reported being less satisfied with their team and manager. While 65% of men said they are satisfied with the team they work with, 62% of women said the same. Similar findings were reflected in manager satisfaction: Some 59% of men said they were satisfied, but only 56% of women reported manager satisfaction. 

These statistics are critical for organizations because compensation is top reason employees leave their jobs the report found. 

In 2020, more women (42%) than men (39%) said they anticipate changing employers, according to the report. 

The top reason for both genders was a higher occupation. Burnout is another reason employees often leave. The contributing factor cited most was a lack of recognition (33% of women, 31% of men). 

Managers can avoid IT staff burnout by building solid relationships with their employees conducting preventive maintenance in business processes, and simplifying daily operations, reported TechRepublic's Tom Merritt.

Benefit disparities 

Gaps in tech workers aren't limited to pay. While 73% of women said they consider training and education important, only 40% reported having that benefit.

Some 77% of female respondents also said they consider remote and flex work options to be important, but just 51% said they are offered that benefit, the report found.

Perhaps the starkest gap, stock options are very limited for women. While 42% of women said they consider stock options an important benefit, only 19% said they actually have it. 

How to help 

To facilitate equity in the workplace, organizations must first recognize where disparities lie, and act accordingly, the report found. 

"In order to promote equality in pay and benefits across genders, organizations can ensure they're basing their salary offers on experience, skillset and performance, not on an employee's gender," Zeile said. 

"Regular review practices to ensure employees are being paid fairly are becoming more common and are absolutely necessary," Zeile added. "Employers that are motivated to provide equal benefits to both women and men can lean into listening to their employees via surveys or focus groups. 

Learning what female technologists value in regard to benefits is paramount, especially considering women and men value different benefits," Zeile said. 

Both women and men said that higher compensation (women at 69%, men at 75%) and remote work options (women at 28%, men at 24%) would increase their engagement or happiness at work. With women being at the greatest disadvantage, these factors should be considered as ways to improve their experience.

Transparency is the key to closing the gap, according to the report. Company leadership should be open about salaries and start the conversation of how to move toward equal treatment. 

For more, check out Why it's time for the tech industry to take gender diversity seriously on ZDNet.

This article was updated on March 5, 2020 to include quotes from Zeile. 

Also see

istock-908175616teammanagement.jpg

Javier Sanchez Mingorance, Getty Images/iStockphoto