Spotlight on Women in Tech

No doubt, professionals nationwide will continue to “lean in” to the roiling debate over Sheryl Sandberg’s newly published book of career advice, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” While some attacks on the Facebook COO have been rabid– it’s possible to avoid name-calling and instead point out data that shows women in the workplace do make as much as men at least when it comes to technology professionals.

The most recent Dice Salary Survey reaffirms a truth that has been constant in the analyses since 2009: With tech workers, the compensation gender gap has disappeared. Average salaries are equal for male and female tech pros, provided we’re comparing equal levels of experience and education and parallel job titles.

“When it comes to technology employment, it’s a skills driven marketplace,” said Tom Silver, SVP, Dice. “The ability to apply that know-how to a given problem remains the core of employment – why tech professionals get hired and how they are compensated.”

While men outearned women overall in the 2013-2012 survey – by an average annual income of $95,929 to $87,527 – that difference is driven by the fact that the two groups tend to hold different positions. In fact, only Project Managers make the top five positions held by both genders.
Whether this is by choice or institutional bias cannot be determined from these results. However, satisfaction with compensation was nearly identical with 58 percent of women stating they were satisfied, as compared to 56 percent of their male counterparts.

While transitioning between jobs may be a more difficult decision in this recovery, that difficulty isn’t gender-based – meaning that women technology professionals can still assess the market and determine if they have the core skills necessary to “lean in” to the next step in the career.

At the same time, tech departments may serve as something of a model for others. Sandberg has come under fire for arguing a that lack of confidence and internal drive – as opposed to institutional sexism – continues to hold women back. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s hard to dispute that in an environment where all employees are afforded equal opportunity to build their skills and participate in high-profile projects, the best and brightest will rise to the top, gender aside.

Companies that treat men and women the same, from pay on down, create a world where talent flourishes. That may drive Sheryl Sandberg out of the book business, even as it drives firms’ bottom lines.