The (growing!) tech wage gap

techjobs.jpgAccording to a recent survey, the wage gap between men and women in the tech industry is growing.

Men are making more money than women in technology jobs, about 12% more than they did last year, according to a salary survey by career site Dice.com.
The survey found that salaries for men increased by 2.4% in 2007 but stayed flat for women. The average salary last year for men was $76,582, and for women, it was $67,507, according to Dice. The gap widened last year: In 2006, the difference between salaries paid to men and women was 9.7%.

The gap was highest for workers in retail, mail order and e-commerce industries – where men make 15 percent more than women. Yikes.
Anyone in the tech industry want to weigh in?

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42 Comments

  1. Posted January 30, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    My day job is high tech. I’m not surprised at this. I had a friend recently who quit her job because she found out the man sitting next to her, doing the same thing she was with the same seniority was making $30,000. Her boss didn’t have an explanation.
    She now works for herself making double what she did previously. With more time off.

  2. Lydia
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m a software engineer, and also not surprised at this. I remember a post a while back about how men pipe up more about raises and promotions more than women, which may certainly account for much of this. As a result in my own job, I’ve almost been extra paranoid and have asked for raises more often than I would if I wasn’t aware of this statistic. In the end, the company will pay you as minimal a salary to keep you there, so don’t be afraid to ask–worst case is that they say no.

  3. Posted January 30, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Women are grossly underrepresented in the tech industry and even more so in the uppermost echelons of tech management and entrepreneurship. Since we have less female tech executives pulling down the big salaries that go with these jobs, the average salary for women in the industry is lower than it is for men.
    Because there are so few women in the industry and even fewer at the top, the women that work here (or get educated in the field) have less opportunity to receive mentorship or network within their own companies – things that can really help when promotions are handed out. Studies show that people most often mentor those that remind them of themselves – when all of management are middle age males, it’s no wonder that the boys keep promoting the boys.
    It’s sad there are so few women in the tech industry. Reaching a critical mass could help solve a lot of the problems that keep women away from tech jobs or from being as successful as their male counterparts.

  4. roro80
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m a mechanical engineer at a large, international tech company. This surprises me in one way, because at least at my company, the women seem to be treated with as much respect as men in the same positions (not sure about salaries). However, when I look around at those who hold engineering and management positions here, a vanishingly small percentage are women, whereas designers, data entry folks, admins, and security seem pretty evenly divided.
    It’s really hard to say — I know that when I was in school studying to be an engineer, there were very few women in my program. It was a bit better in grad school, but certainly not 50/50. And from what I’ve heard, the number of women in technical programs has only gone up in the last decades. So perhaps there will be some changes in these numbers down the line, or at least improvement, but that still doesn’t explain why the wage gap would have worsened in the last year.
    I also want to add that, like Lydia, when I saw the feministing article on how women are less likely to ask for raises and wages, I totally saw my situation reflecting that. That day, I marched my little bum into my boss’ office and told him that I would like to sit down and make a plan with him to make sure I would receive a promotion during the next round. We did, and I hope to see that promotion in March! So thanks.

  5. Posted January 30, 2008 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    One of the problems for workers in the tech industry, and maybe in society in general is that nobody knows what anybody else is making. Basically, you get what you negotiate when you start, and whatever wages you can wring out of your employer. I don’t know what a single co-worker of mine makes, so I can say if they’re making more or less. Employers reinforce this by telling employees that discussing one’s salary is forbidden, even though that’s illegal in California.

  6. Posted January 30, 2008 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Um, that should say:
    “I have a friend who like me helps build software who quit her job recently because she found out the man sitting next to her, doing the same thing she was and who had the same seniority, was making $30,000 more”
    I’m living proof that the trope about women being good at multitasking (at the expense of other skills) is bunk.

  7. Jocelyn
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Both myself and my partner are scientists in the biotech industry, and we are essentially the same level– a Bachelor’s Degree. He’s worked for 1 year longer than I, however, he has consistently made 5-8k more a year than I. He has also always had it “easier,” meaning his bosses have never micro-managed him or made him work extra hours to the extent that my bosses (all male) have. It’s very frustrating to come home at the end of the day and share our experiences… he takes long lunch breaks, never works more than 8 hours, has 1 more week than paid vacation and makes 8k more a year than I. He even had a bonus and a raise at the end of the year (me- nothing). And as I type this, my boss is having me stay late tonight, is irritating as hell and I make so much less, no bonuses, perks, etc. What’s more, I graduated in less than 4 years with a near perfect GPA and a more difficult degree, where he took 6 years, had a horrible average and no undergrad research experience like I did (and yes, we went to the same school).
    Because of this I plan on leaving the science-aspect later this year and moving into sales where I will hopefully make more money and have a better opportunity to move up, as clearly my intelligence isn’t worth as much as a man’s. I realize this is but one example, but it’s hard to have it in your face every day like this and not start to feel that way.

  8. Posted January 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Um, that should say:
    “I have a friend who like me helps build software who quit her job recently because she found out the man sitting next to her, doing the same thing she was and who had the same seniority, was making $30,000 more”
    I’m living proof that the trope about women being good at multitasking (at the expense of other skills) is bunk.

  9. the15th
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I am in engineering academia partially to avoid tech industry, and this does not surprise me in the least. The entire field has experienced a major downturn, and big tech companies are still largely successful in promoting the idea of a “shortage” of tech workers, which allows them to bring in guest workers whose terms of employment make them ripe for exploitation. Of course women are the first to lose out when a whole industry is doing badly.
    And the rampant age discrimination in the industry makes it even worse for women who take off time for family reasons. Says Jakob Lodwick, founder of video service Vimeo and laddish comedy site College Humor, “If you want to have a young office full of vibrant new ideas, just buy a bunch of slinkies. That will make all the old people turn into — no, not turn into young people directly — but, it will make them leave. And then they’ll be replaced by young people.” I’m sure his companies (well, he was fired from Vimeo) are great places for women to work too.

  10. juliaseid
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I had a conversation related to this the other night. He works for a large software company where women make up around 10% of technical positions. I would guess, especially for larger companies, this is fairly common. The company he works for actually makes a huge effort to hire women for technical roles – it’s a big ‘plus’ in the hiring process. What it appears to come down to is that there simply aren’t enough women graduating from computer science programs to fill the available positions. Most of the women he works with are ‘industry’ hires – meaning they got into technology by coincidence or as a second career. As a result, many of them don’t have the same depth of knowledge or theoretical proficiency as someone who got a degree in math or computer science or engineering.
    My husband’s theory is that because there is such a ‘push’ to hire women, the women who are hired may not be, on average, as qualified or competent as the men who are hired. There is such a vanishingly small number of women who are qualified for the most technical roles to begin with that many of the ones who are hired might lack other faculties that would help them succeed, or are not as technically sophisticated as their male peers.
    My theory is that technology companies in general do not value many of the other skills that these women hired from ‘industry’ undoubtedly bring to the table. The communication skills, breadth of perspective and knowledge of user experience come from working in another industry could probably be leveraged pretty well in management at most tech companies, but because those aren’t the corporate values the companies were founded on, they’re not emphasized the same way they might be in a more mature industry.
    It’s a pretty difficult problem to get to the root of, for obvious reasons. One thing is clear to me, though, and that is that this problem is not going to be solved until we start getting more girls to remain interested in math and hard sciences past middle school. Whether the issue is one of inexperience or undervalued skills, there’s no question that having more women pursue education in these areas is critical.

  11. the15th
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    the company he works for actually makes a huge effort to hire women for technical roles – it’s a big ‘plus’ in the hiring process.
    Perhaps being a woman is a big “plus” that makes an applicant more likely to be hired — if you consider only those positions where the opening was publicly advertised and a variety of resumes from unknowns were considered equally. I would be interested to know how many searches in the technology industry are conducted along these lines and how many go to the project manager’s cool frat buddy who created this totally awesome website when they were in college.

  12. the15th
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I have a PhD in theoretical computer science, and in the one non-academic (in a quasi-academic setting) job I got an interview for, I was told that I did not have enough “industry” experience.

  13. haydin
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m finishing my MS in a field of engineering, and will start working for an awesome company in a couple of months. I meet this one engineer at my previous job (about 25 years farther along in his career) who randomly decided to mentor me. And mentor he did. He got me this job I just landed and he’s the one who told me to negotiate hard for higher salary. Without him – I would be making 10k less at a crappier company. Many of my female friends never had a mentor.

  14. hendmik
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m a male IT manager in Colorado with a degree in women’s studies. All I want to say is there are people on the inside who see the pathetic misrepresentation of women in the industry. My team is comprised of some of the best techs in Denver; half of which are women.
    If I hear one more asshole accuse me of hiring less qualified people just to “pad” the team with non-white males because I like to be surrounded by women, I’m going to blow my fucking top.

  15. geeky_girl
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Hm i dunno. I know my coworkers salaries at the bottom level or so, and they were about the same as me (one guy who is infinitely more qualified got maybe 1k more on start).
    I’m at a really good company for women though. Come be a software engineer at the tnaig erawtfos dnomder.

  16. betty
    Posted January 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    It is certainly true that in computer science, the percentage of women has dropped since a high in the early eighties.
    When I got in it, I chose it because it was interesting and people seemed to rise according to their ability. Then the number of women continued to drop and drop. When I got in it, there were more women in it percentage wise than women medical doctors percentage wise, now women are the dominate number in MDs and there are single digit percentages of women in computer science. Oh, there are still women in user interface design or marketing, but not on the IT side. And if there are, they are project managers likely, not software or server engineers. This was not always the case. When I got in it, women were around 35% of IT staffs. Now they are in the single digits. Really. It has changed that much. Really. Why did women leave the profession in droves and no one said anything over the last couple of decades?
    No one covers this in the press very deeply except to suggest, as some here have, that women just don’t like IT or aren’t qualified or there MUST be some reason for this trend in this profession that is worse than just about any other profession. And it MUST be the women’s fault – they aren’t asking for money, they aren’t as qualified, etc, etc. I HAS to be some other reason than discrimination. Denial, I say.
    However, if you look at other countries, France, Russia, Japan…at least in college, women graduate in math and computer science at MUCH higher rates than in the US. Even the rates of women in Indian IT shops are higher than in the US. Why don’t people ask questions about that?
    I can tell you from experience that my certifications and degrees and hard work and accomplishments still don’t reliably raise me up to make what men do, particularly at my age. I have to accomplish twice as much to get evaluated just equal and still when I walk in a room I get tested – I have to prove myself – as if I’m a token or a non-tech person, an admin or something. I can second the poster that in general, a man can be lazy and still get the bonus because of the boys club.
    There is still the fifties attitude that a man needs the money in high tech, and they have a particularly high percentage of marriages where they have stay at home wives. Some come to work to bitch about their wives and hole up in a boyz club room.
    If you are a bigot, high tech is the best field to hide out in. And ironically, it’s been older men that have promoted me and given me better assignment – they worked at at time when the percentage of women were 10s of a percentage higher; the younger men seem to be more likely to be anti-feminist than the ones over 45. The stereotypical web tech head has grown up without women in his coding classes or any competition with women whatsoever.
    When they get to work and are managed by an older woman that could look like a soccer mom, sometimes they don’t believe it. If I talk tech with them, it’s like the rainman counted toothpicks on the floor. They can’t believe it. It’s unnatural for me to know more tech than them.

  17. Fazia Rizvi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    I worked in IT for academia for nearly 13 years where salaries are a matter of public record (because they are paid by taxpayers). Despite this openness, I found that I have consistently made less than equally qualified men, on the order of $5-10K.
    I also noticed that men were promoted past me and that their salaries climbed more quickly when I had a male boss. When I had a female boss, even if I didn’t particularly get along with her, my salary was as close to equitable as it ever has been, and climbed as rapidly as the men around me.
    I’ve since left IT for other opportunities.

  18. KeithIrwin
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Not to discount anyone who feels that they’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, because I’m sure that that does happen some, but I can’t help but immediately think that the problem is less about the pay differential for people in the same positions and more about the percentage of women in different positions. When I worked as a software developer, our QA team, technical writers, and customer support staffs were about 50/50 in terms of sex. But out of 20 programmers, we had no women that I know of. There might have been one in the group upstairs (I didn’t see them much). In my time there, I never saw any evidence that suggested that anyone would hesitate to hire a woman to be a computer programmer at that company, but when we were hiring, we didn’t really get any resumes from qualified women.
    So I can’t help but think that the salary difference is largely because the women in the technical workforce don’t have the higher-paid positions. And the reason that they don’t have that is because they don’t have the education for those positions. I suspect that this is the real issue that we have to examine and try to fix. When I was an undergraduate in the mid-90s, the computer science department had more students named Dave than it had female students. Since then, they’ve speared-headed programs to recruit more women into computer science, but some people think that this has mostly resulted in more female students choosing their program over other top universities rather than more women genuinely entering the field.
    At the university where I’m now getting my PhD, there are a lot more women, but most of them are from India. There are clearly cultural forces in America which pressure women out of the hard sciences which don’t exist in some other countries. There’s a very good book called “Does Jane Compute?” which is about this problem and what to do about it. The bad news is that the problem is getting worse. The percentage of women getting computer science degrees was at its highest in the early 80s and has steadily declined since. Computers have been classified in our culture as “boy toys”, much like cars. And like cars, even as women use them as frequently as men, they’re often stigmatized from learning how they work under the hood or elsewise knowing too much about them for fear of being branded a geek.

  19. Posted January 31, 2008 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I’d be more interested in any data that tried to get deeper into this wage gap, and explain what’s going on, especially where the growth in the gap is coming from. I know that one of the weird things I occasionally notice at work is how few women there are around. If I get off the elevator at a different floor, it’s 50/50, but that floor’s sales, not engineering.
    (Side story: I took my 4-year-old to work one day near the end of December, and in preparing to come to work with me, she wanted to know the names of who worked there. So I named the other people on my team, and some other people I interact with regularly who sit near us, and she asked me “Daddy, are there any girls who work at Google?” A legitimate question given the names I’d mentioned)
    In somewhat related news, the IEEE recently launched the first issue of its new twice-a-year “Women in Engineering” magazine.

  20. Doug S.
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    /me wonders if this has anything to do with the higher prevalence of autism in males… probably not…

  21. Mac The Libertarian
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    One of the things I’ve noticed is that, in the tech industry especially, you can often play hardball with starting wages, but it seems like it’s very much an old boy’s club. When I’m given technical exercises at interviews, I find myself being forgiven for egregious and gaping errors. It’s possible that my examiners are either incompetent or very forgiving in general, but it’s hard not to get the feeling that they’re going soft on me because we were bred from the same generation of technically adept but socially awkward males who couldn’t get a date in our youth.
    At my current position, there are more than twice as many women in QA as development, and QA testers are traditionally paid less than developers. I can’t speak to how much of this is owing to discrimination versus job choice, but I don’t know many people who ventured willingly into the realm of QA.

  22. ashwat
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I recently started at a small medical device design company, with 4 of us recent grads beginning at the same time. 3 women, one guy. Same (prestigious) school, same degree. While it may appear that they hired more women to even out the ranks, the company is still HEAVILY male dominated. Myself and the two other ladies became fast friends and gripe about all the mismanagement of the company. While we’re all still new and I doubt our salaries differ, I can’t help to be scared that the new male employee (who us ladies happen to hate, but not just because he’s a guy) will soon surpass our salaries. Because we talk, go out to lunches together, etc., we’re kind of known as the “girls,” while he is known to just enter our VPs office just to “hang out” and go out for coffee (which I don’t drink). We know that the VP is the type to appreciate this kind of attention, but I don’t ever want to have to fake a friendship to get a raise. The male employee, though hired at the same time and given the same title (we are “Research Associates,” though we are performing engineering tasks) has began signing his emails “Research Engineer,” perhaps a tactic to make the upper management take notice and respect him more?
    This is more of a rant than anything else, but it does relate. In the boys club of even a small tech company there is a big difference in the actions of the new male employee and the new females one, and we are being treated differently. Again, I think the “asking for raises” fact was interesting, as it’s not something I would think to do, but maybe this relates to how you connect to your superiors and how they treat you over your male counterparts. And I still couldn’t help but notice that during a big presentation to representatives of a big source of funding to my project, that I was the only woman in the room (out of 14 people) including doctors, scientists, management, researchers and engineers. I gave the presentation, and I nailed that shit.

  23. the15th
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    MacTheLibertarian, that’s very interesting that you are “forgiven for egregious and gaping errors” in interviews. My experience (I am female) has been nothing like that. At one interview (the quasi-academic one) I was asked a number of technical questions that were about the arcane details of how to implement something in a specific language, not the more traditional conceptual questions where you just describe an algorithm to solve a problem that I would have expected. As I said, my work is mostly theoretical, but software engineers I know didn’t know the answers to these.

  24. minouette
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I have a PhD in physics and as an experimentalist I’d call mine a ‘tech’ job. In my academic settling, I’m making considerably more than a male colleague with a PhD and I keep harassing him to try to get a raise! Sadly, I’m sure this is anomalous. In academia, studies have shown that women get both lower initial salaries (which affects their entire career as raises are based on this initial point) and fewer resources (i.e. lab and office space). We’ve hosted some workshops to try and encourage women PhDs to be more assertive in the negotiation process. I suspect some of this is socialization; it doesn’t occur to women, as often, to ask for more than they are offered. Though, not to blame the women, I should point out that the old boys could let their students know that one is expected to ask for more!

  25. Russell
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Surely if women overall make 76 cents of so to each dollar a man makes (is that figure still correct?), tech is a female-friendly industry when the different is ‘only’ 12%.
    th15th: Ageism is definately rampant in the industry. And in some software companies there is a real bias against with PhDs who are sometimes seen as being strong on theoretical subjects but weak at actual engineering.

  26. Antigone
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    At my current position, there are more than twice as many women in QA as development, and QA testers are traditionally paid less than developers. I can’t speak to how much of this is owing to discrimination versus job choice, but I don’t know many people who ventured willingly into the realm of QA.
    My husband is in QA, he actually had more interest in that area and chose it willingly. He didn’t major in computer science or engineering though, but BCIS.
    Anyway, his department is about 75% male. On the positive side, the second in command is female, and 1 of the 3 team leads. There is a strict silence policy about salary, which makes discussing these issues difficult (and that’s the way they want it). Makes the recent Supreme Court decision in the Ledbetter case all the more ridiculous, IMO.
    But one of his female co workers who was hired around the same time as him told him recently that she makes less per hour than anyone else in the department, including the interns. I don’t know how she found this out. It could be she makes less because she was hired without having finished her bachelor’s degree – she works on it part time, but that wouldn’t explain why she makes less than interns, who also have not yet finished their bachelor’s degree. Seems a bit suspicious to me, but any investigating would lead to the people involved being instantly fired.

  27. the15th
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Russell — Yes, there may be a bias against PhDs (although the job interview I described was specifically for a PhD).
    That’s why the calls for women, or anyone, to get more tech education have always been suspect to me. It’s not clear at all that education is a big advantage in the hiring process, and at some point it becomes a disadvantage. There are studies that show that employers refuse even to consider applicants who went to school to learn some in-demand skill rather than having used that skill on a job.

  28. betty
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    To answer the guy that said the pay difference is due to women taking lighter job — No, Virginia, the pay difference is on the same job, same titles, same years of experience. The pay difference also exists if you only measure women who have had no children. I’m a bit of an expert on women in technology – both being one and reading a lot of studies. So for those of you that talk to a friend of a friend or your husbands, it’s a fact: women have great pay discrimination in computer science.

  29. SaraP
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    While I’m not in the tech industry, I’m married to a computer science grad student and many of my friends are computer scientists as well. One friend of mine in college when to the CS department head to get his signature on the form she needed to officially register as a CS major. When she walked in and asked for his signature, his response was, “So, you’re getting a BA in CS right?” To which she replied, “No, I’m getting a BS in CS.” He looked shocked that a woman would even consider the BS over the BA. And this is at a supposedly liberal and enlightened Ivy League university. From the very beginning, women who want to excel in tech fields run into this kind of road block. There needs to be a cultural change in the industry. If these are the kinds of attitudes of professors, it will be difficult for women to excel in the classroom they way they need to to even be looked at as equal to Men in the work place. If we can’t get equal footing in getting the education we need to compete, how can we expect to overcome that in industry?
    The flip side to this is that todays male CS graduates are in an environment when women are discouraged and looked down upon. So it’s not surprise that they would carry the same attitudes into the workplace.

  30. the frog queen
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    well, I’m in Canada and worked in Hi-tech for two years for one Inter-national Company. All I can say is that of all the 30 some-odd executives to work in the company making 6-figures twice over in one year, they were all men except for the corporate lawyer for the Canadian branch…
    The one woman I knew in a good position(not corporate) was my boss and she was making nearly 70,000 a year… she was laid off and replaced by a man of 30 years when they decided to move the office for no apparent reason but ‘restructuring’ ….

  31. nil
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    i work at a dotcom and i’ve had the exact same (literally, down to the #) experience as JessicaNOW’s friend. I found out that the guy sitting across from me (who has less experience and skill than i do) was making 30% more. when i found out, i did a salary survey in my area for my job and sent it to the head of HR. in response, they did an investigation and gave me and my female co-worker, who also has the same title but has been here 8 years (i’ve been here 3 and the man’s been here 6 months), a 8% raise. she and i have identical salaries, so he’s still making 20% more than either of us. i also talked to both my supervisor and her supervisor about the salary difference and they both told me there was nothing they could do about it. there’s a general undercurrent of misogyny here – every woman who has risen to any kind of power or who doesn’t tow the line has been marginalized or ground down until she leaves.
    i talked to a lawyer about this and he said, while my employer is doing something which is illegal, he wouldn’t pursue the case because, ultimately, the money he would recover from the company wouldn’t even cover his legal fees. he recommended i move on gracefully into my next position and take this as a learning experience.
    i’m going to contact the eeoc and see anything can be done.

  32. cruithne
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I was recently promoted to the head of my QA team. The salary increase I was offered after my 6-month trial period was not only embarassingly small, but I was still making less than the man with less experience who was working for me.
    Fortunately my supervisor was appropriately embarassed when I pointed this out to him, and they raised it so that at least I’m making more than those I’m in charge of.
    I still get angry when I think about it, though. This summer I’m probably going to start casting out feelers for something else, because I’ve done my time being part of the statistics.
    P.S. I have no kids, so that is not a factor here.

  33. roriekelly
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The tech industry right now is seeing a great deal of sharky people expecting to get something for nothing. The majority of job ads you see out there are “Junior (insert technology position here) Position Available, Gain Experience!” and “Students and Interns Wanted!” What they mostly boil down to is “You’ve spent anywhere from 2 – 8 years gaining the experience my company needs, but instead of paying you what you’re worth, I’m going to offer you $10 bucks an hour (you know, kind of like what you’re making now at Borders?) and call it an ‘internship’ so I can profit off of you.” I think a big part of the wage gap problem is that women are a lot more susceptible to undervaluing themselves than men, especially in this field. They’ve probably gone through schooling as one of only a few women in each class they take, and they’re probably used to people talking over them and not valuing their opinions or their work. Psychologically, they’re a lot more ready to get excited about any position and pay rate offered to them, even if it’s really undervaluing them. And I’m pretty sure the people making hiring decisions at these places know this on some level, and the policy is very much “get them in the door for as little as possible.” They’ll give you plenty of verbal encouragement (but little financial encouragement) to stay once you’re in, and I think women in this field (who’ve likely had a serious deficit of verbal encouragement so far in their careers) are a lot more likely to be affected by it.
    Personally, this is one of the big reasons I opted to start my own company (www.luckforlaura.com if anyone cares to check it out) rather than continue to look for a steady job that would underpay me–and I strongly believe that my gender-neutral name (rorie) makes potential clients less likely to “lowball me” on price negotiation.

  34. betty
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I have found that the pay differential at the dot coms are actually more often worse than the fortune 500 companies when it comes to women in technology development. And, ironically, often it is the younger men that are more sexist about other women being their peers in technology than older men. I don’t know what happened in the schools in the 90′s or the raising of the young men or whatever. And I don’t know why the foreign technology teams I deal with seem to always have more women in technology development than in the US. My friends in medicine, law, and architecture don’t experience the sexism that I do on a regular basis in my profession.

  35. Posted January 31, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Women in my organization that do what I do make the same amount as me, but I work for the school district, a NV state entity. We all get paid by the hour as educational support staff. One problem though: few women hold technical jobs here in the district. But the ones that do are paid using the same scale as everyone else. That’s the public sector for you.
    Of course, this totally doesn’t answer for the wage disparity in private industry, where salaries are negotiated, as well as the LACK of women in IT overall. I can tell you that I have to squash the occasional sexist attitude among my coworkers, so the sexism that one would experience in the IT community is the same as it would be anywhere else.
    Same bullsh*t, different industry. Meh.

  36. Jovan1984
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    It really makes me sad to see that women are making so much less than men. It also saddens me that nothing has really changed in the past 36 years.

  37. the15th
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I’ve noticed that most of the subjects of interviews on this site are activists or artists. I would LOVE to see some women scientists or engineers!

  38. Posted January 31, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Anecdote time:
    A couple of jobs back I was up for a position providing tech support for users of a software package that runs on IBM mainframes. It required tech knowledge and the ability to learn the product and deal with clueless users in a fashion other than telling them they wee clueless (licenses for the product are on the order of 10′s of thousands of dollars each)
    During the interview process, I was cross-interviewed by some of the people I would be working/training with.
    One was a woman who asked me, bluntly, if I would have any problems with being trained by, and taking supervision from, a woman who was younger than me.
    I was a little taken aback — my response was that a large chunk of the industry is younger than me, and there are women everywhere, and If I had that as a serious issue I was SOL.
    It didn’t dawn on me until later that the question must have been based on something that happened — and after I stated I found out that that was exactly what had happened — some hotshot decided that he didn’t want no women (especially a blond who was younger than him)telling him what to do.
    (what I found amusing that the “younger than” was about 5 years — in my case, it was a matter of “younger than” by almost 15 years)
    I will admit that when I started, the IT industry was very weighted towards males, and the only women who were coders or developers were very few and far between, and had been steered into the field by “career counselors” who advised them that IT would earn them a higher wage than, say, librarian, and they might find a husband, as well.
    Along the way, there were more women in the ranks, but now, there are less. I really don’t know why there are fewer women, unless the Good Ol’e Boy’s network has been mentoring more and more men as the ranks of available jobs shrinks.
    (and, along with someone up -thread who noticed the hogwash about the “shortage” of domestic-trained tech skills — one of the things we would have seen if there were really a “shortage” would be much higher wages and competition for candidates, as opposed to competition for jobs. I have not seen that at all — instead UI’m seeing lots and lots of wage compression and people being afraid to either jump to new jobs or “make waves,” because they feel they could be replaced by some worker from India who will work as a temp for 30% less, and no benefits, and won’t be able to complain about mistreatment — it doesn’t matter to a lot of these managers that the loss of continuity of experience is hurting them.)

  39. lc224
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m an engineering manager for a high-tech firm. I manage a group of 6 engineers (all men).
    My company does publish the range of salaries for my particular rank, so at least I know where I stand in general.
    I can see how other women might be underpaid, however. There do tend to be more women working in QA (Quality Assurance) than in development, and I think that’s because the development organizations are rather hostile to women. I did face a lot more of the attitude that I had to prove myself when I was younger. I’m still trying to hire some women, but they are hard to find. We need to attract more to the field.
    Lisa

  40. Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I started a tech support job with a college degree that I worked 10 years while paying off my bills at 500 more than my partner did. I was told I would be evaluated in a year for a pay increase. He was evaluated after 6 months and was given a 17% pay raise. I was evaluated after a year and given 4%. Neato. And he does not have a degree or experience so it made it all the more fun. And to top it off I found out the only other woman they hired out of the 12 of us also had the wait a year to be reviewed for a possible raise. Co-inky-dink?

  41. Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Me = working way through school for BA.
    Him = not working way through school.
    The job = the same.
    His review? 6 months.
    My review? a year.
    His raise? 17%
    Mine? 4%
    Sucktastic if you ask me.
    The sad part is I thought I would be able to make a decent wage in a male dominated computer tech field only to find it chuck full of arrogance and sexism that makes my job a daily nightmare. After 8 years I make 8 thousand less than he does.
    I think women only buy lipstick and lolly pops and tampons and if we had some real spending power we would just fitter it away on families and children and education.
    As you can see, I am not bitter.

  42. GamesOnline
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    It is certainly true that in computer science, the percentage of women has dropped since a high in the early eighties.free online games

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