Pay inequality based on gender is a persistent problem in the tech industry, one which is exacerbated by a lack of transparency from companies, making it harder to quantify and address. In order to gain insight into this issue, Women Who Code conducted a survey of its members, asking them for their opinions on the state of equal pay in tech, and their own reactions to the practices of different companies.

According to the survey results, women in tech overwhelmingly (94.8%) think that men are paid more than them for doing the same jobs, an issue which 88.3% of respondents believe is more severe for women of color. Even worse, over 60% believe that the company they are working for right now is paying its male employees more.

This has an obvious effect on the tech industry. According to a study by the NCWIT, 56% of women will leave their jobs mid-career, often just as they are at the point where they are most profitable for their employers. This is backed up by Women Who Code’s findings which show that a quarter of all women (25.6%) have left positions after finding out that their male counterparts were being paid more.

While only 24% of respondents said that equal pay was their top workplace issue, 91% said that they were more likely to take a job at a company that practiced transparent salary policies. That’s important for an industry that is suffering from a severe lack of available talent, and particularly diverse talent which has been shown to increase the productivity of teams by as much as 15%.

There are also more insidious consequences of unequal pay practices, such as its contribution to imposter syndrome, and feelings of not belonging. This can hold potential leaders back from taking on positions where they could do more, and drive both innovation and profit. Women Who Code CEO Alaina Percival expounded on this, “Only when they feel equally valued by the companies they work for will women feel fully empowered to invest their talents and efforts into the long-term growth of those companies.”

Despite the pessimistic view of the current state of the industry, there is still a sense of hope among women engineers.  When asked if they believed that the gender pay gap could be solved in their lifetime, 72.5% of women responded in the affirmative. That means that tech still has a chance. Companies need to change their practices, start auditing themselves for unconscious bias, and releasing their salary numbers periodically, but this can happen. And that means that tech can be even better tomorrow than it is today.


Survey Results

Total: 448 Applicants

Do you believe that men are paid more than women in tech?
Yes: 94.8%

Would you say that equal pay is your top workplace issue?
Yes: 24%
No: 76%

Are you more likely to take a job at a company that follows transparent salary policies?
Yes: 91%
No: 9%

Have you ever left a job because you found out about unfair pay practices?
Yes: 25.6%
No: 74.4%

Do you believe that your company pays its male employees more than its female employees?
Yes: 60.2%
No: 39.8%

Do you believe that there is a worse gender wage gap for women of color?
Yes: 88.3%
No: 11.7%

Do you believe that the gender pay gap can be solved in your lifetime?
Yes: 72.5%
No: 27.5%

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