February 2015: The Position Gap

Is there a gender pay gap in tech? This is a question that has long been debated in tech circles. Taking tech salary data at face value, it would appear as though the answer is a clear-cut ‘yes’. For instance, Dice’s latest Salary Survey shows that on average, men earned $91,362 in 2014, nearly $10,000 more than the $81,651 women made on average during the same time period. If you look more closely, however, it becomes clear that these numbers do not paint an entirely accurate picture, as they fail to consider two key variables that factor into earned salaries: years of experience and level of education. 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.

salaries2015 (2)While the data indicates a lack of a gender pay gap in tech once experience and education are taken into account, it does unearth a position gap, which appears to more accurately explain the earnings differential between men and women in tech. According to the most recent Dice Salary Survey, the two groups tend to hold different positions.  In fact, with the exception of Project Manager and Applications Developer, there are no other positions that overlap in the Top Ten Occupations Lists for men and women. There is, however, a significant salary differential between the two lists.February Dice Report--Positions

More specifically, the top ten tech positions held by men in 2014 had average salaries ranging between $92,245 and $127,750; conversely, the top ten tech positions held by women had salaries ranging between $43,068 and $98,328. This large-scale difference in salary ranges ($29,422-$49,177) demonstrates that the higher paying tech positions are more commonly held by men than by women. The obvious question is then why more of these positions are not being filled by females.

At this time, it is unclear why this is the case, although we suspect that a number of societal and lifestyle factors generally come into play. Regardless of the disparity, both men and women appear to be equally satisfied with their compensation, with 53 percent of men stating they were satisfied with their salaries as compared to 52 percent of women in 2014.

womenpercent2015“In a marketplace that is constantly evolving, the things that are most critically important to a candidate’s marketability are their skills-base, their adaptability and their performance level,” said Shravan Goli, President of Dice. “These are the factors that companies most heavily weigh when determining which candidates get hired and the level of compensation they are awarded.”

Given the advantage candidates have in today’s market, both male and female tech professionals alike should take this time to build upon their knowledge base and participate in projects that provide them with the opportunity to rise through the ranks. With companies so eager to hire qualified talent, tech professionals could not be in a more ideal position to consider new career opportunities and take risks.