Women in tech offered lower salaries than men — but they often ask for less: report

Ask and you shall receive.


Women applying for technology jobs are offered lower salaries than men for the same role 63 percent of the time, according to a new report. And on average, they’re offered 4 percent less, with some firms even proposing up to 50 percent less, according to San Francisco-based tech-jobs platform Hired.

“This pay gap is likely the result of a number of factors,” said Hired’s “2017 Women, Work, and the State of Wage Inequality” report.

“These might include unconscious bias during the interview process, and compensation policies that determine a candidate’s salary based on what he or she was previously making, rather than the market rate for that individual’s skills and years of experience.

“Long term, these kinds of biases during the hiring process may contribute to the gender disparity we see in the tech industry, like the fact that women are twice as likely as men to leave the space.”

Also, slightly more than half the time, companies interviewed only men for a particular role — but interviewed only women just 6 percent of the time, according to Hired.

Negotiations over salary generally favor men, Hired reported. The company compared initial salary offers made at the start of the interview process with final salary offers made after all interviews and negotiations are finished. The negotiations widened the salary-offer gap to 5 percent from 4 percent, Hired said.

“Even when women do negotiate, they are less likely than men to be successful,” the report said.

But amid the reporting on what can seem in Silicon Valley to be an intractable problem, some good news shone through. Hired’s 2016 report found women being offered lower pay than men for the same job 69 percent of the time, so there’s been a 6 percent improvement.

And the report suggested that part of the reason women are offered lower salaries than men is that they ask for less.

“For 69 percent of the roles for which both a man and a woman were given an initial offer, women set their preferred salary less than men,” according to the report. “Women asked for an average of 4 percent less than men, though this number rose to as much as 80 percent in some cases.”

However, perhaps because of attention given in recent years to gender disparities in tech, early-career tech women tended to ask for higher pay than their male counterparts, the report said.

“Looking specifically at women with less than one year of experience, we see that they ask for an average of 4 percent more money than men, and are ultimately offered an average of 8 percent more,” the report said. “Unfortunately, the wage gap appears when we look at candidates with more than six years of experience, which may be around the time when they start having children.

“Research shows that women’s salaries are likely to decrease after they have children, while men experience the opposite effect.”

The finding that women who ask for higher salaries often receive them fits with Hired’s research on tech applicants in general.

“We find that 59 percent of the time, individuals on our platform receive their preferred salary, demonstrating just how important it is for a candidate to know and ask for what they’re worth,” the report said.

Hired said the research used voluntary, self-reported demographic data from its platform’s users. Gender was identified based on first name, and cross-checked using pronouns in letters of recommendation submitted by job seekers via the Hired platform. Data was only used when the gender of a candidate was certain. Salary numbers reflected base pay, and were drawn from more than 120,000 interview requests and job offers from the past year.


Photo: Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, speaks at Stanford University in 2013. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)




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