Women In IT: Where Is The Equal Pay? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
09:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata

Women In IT: Where Is The Equal Pay?

Women in IT are still earning significantly less than their male counterparts, according to the InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey. Take a look at our findings, and then let us know how your compensation stacks up.

InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Leadership Jobs
InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Leadership Jobs
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey reveals a wide gender gap in IT – both in terms of the number of women responding to the survey, and how their compensation compares with that of their male counterparts.

Of the 2,925 total IT respondents, only 450 -- or 15% -- were female. Survey respondents were identified as either IT staff or IT management based on their current roles. Men made up 83% of IT staff respondents and 87% of IT management respondents.

Female IT staffers earned a median annual base salary of $72,000, 22.2% less than the $90,000 earned by their male counterparts.

[Which IT staff jobs pay the most? Read InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Jobs.]

Female IT managers earned a median annual base salary of $102,000, 9.3% less than the $112,000 earned by their male counterparts.

When we look at total annual compensation, including salary and all cash bonuses, the picture is similar. Female IT staffers earned a median compensation of $78,000 compared with $95,000 for their male counterparts.

Female IT managers earned median compensation of $109,000, compared with the figure of $120,000 that's earned by their male counterparts. (This report uses median rather than mean or average figures for salary and percentage changes to eliminate distortions caused by extremes at the high or low ends of the responses.)

All IT employees, regardless of gender, report few job perks beyond the standard health insurance and 401(k) match accounts. In fact, interns at top-tier tech companies generally fare better in the perks department than the average corporate IT employee.

For example, when asked which types of non-cash or indirect cash awards they expected to receive this year, only 2% of all IT staff respondents and 4% of all IT management respondents cited daycare or daycare subsidies. Likewise, only 3% of staffers and 6% of managers said they expect Sabbatical or extended vacation time from their company.

Rewards for the Next 12 Months

Table 1: Please specify the type(s) of noncash and indirect cash rewards you expect to receive in the next 12 months
Reward Staff Management
Health insurance 79.4% 76.0%
401(k) match 71.5% 70.0%
Company-paid smartphone 32.8% 52.9%
Other further education/training 27.5% 27.9%
Tuition reimbursement 23.8% 25.6%
Certification reimbursement 21.4% 24.4%
Stock purchase plan 14.2% 12.3%
Health club membership 12.4% 11.7%
Stock options 11.0% 16.8%
Company-paid phone/fax/cable modem/DSL lines 7.2% 12.3%
Company-paid home Internet access 6.5% 11.7%
Company car or car allowance 3.2% 8.0%
Sabbatical/extended vacation 2.8% 6.0%
Day care or day care subsidy 2.0% 3.9%
Source: InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey. Base: 1,535 IT staff and 1,390 IT managers (multiple responses allowed).

Yet, when asked what matters most to them about their jobs, flexible work schedules and vacation time/paid time off ranked high on the list for managers and staffers alike. More than four in ten staffers (42%) cited a flexible work schedule, as did 38% of managers.

Likewise, 42% of staffers and 33% of managers cited vacation time/paid time off as among the job factors that matter most. One quarter (25%) of IT staffers and 17% of IT managers cited telecommuting/work-from-home options. (Survey respondents were able to choose up to seven answers to this question; daycare and daycare subsidies were not offered among the multiple choice options to this question in the survey.)

(Image: Enis Aksoy/iStockphoto)

(Image: Enis Aksoy/iStockphoto)

In a Wall Street Journal post last month, Brad Grossman, founder of cultural think-tank Zeitguide, discussed how the gender gap in tech may be introducing unconscious bias into the algorithms we use for machine learning.

Grossman writes: "If algorithms learn from users, but the users are mostly men, what are the machines learning?" He cites examples such as an experiment run by Carnegie Mellon researchers last year that found that Google's Ad Settings program delivered ads for jobs paying above $200,000 to male online profiles six times more often than to female profiles.

Research compiled in 2015 by the Anita Borg Institute found that women in tech jobs leave at twice the rate of men by mid-career. The group cites a 2011 study by the University of Wisconsin of more than 1,000 women in which the following reasons were given by women for leaving engineering jobs -- mostly in favor of other careers:

  • Working conditions: no advancement, too many hours, low salary
  • Work-life integration: wanted more time with family, conflict with family, or too much travel
  • Didn't like the work: lost interest or didn't like the daily tasks
  • Organizational climate: didn't like the culture, boss, or coworkers

Do your own experiences working in IT correlate with our research findings? How does your compensation stack up?

Do you think men and women in IT are treated equally? Does your workplace offer the perks you need to achieve work-life balance? We want to hear from you. Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Susan Nunziata leads the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community.Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM ... View Full Bio
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User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2016 | 4:32:52 AM
Equal Pay
I am agree with RudyS515. The pay in IT is from the experience and the title but not the gender.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/10/2016 | 12:05:35 PM
Equal pay
I work in an IT department, and the pay is based on the job - no matter the gender.  This has been the case since I started here - almost 20 years ago. 

More and more research supports the idea that Pay Inequality is much, much smaller than often stated.  More andmore, people realize that the job title is not the way to measure equality of pay, but education, experience and time in job are much more acurate measurments. 


It makes for nice sound bites, but it does not pass the reality check...

User Rank: Strategist
10/7/2016 | 8:35:14 PM
Women In IT
Question: are these numbers being quoted specifically comparing for identical jobs in the same company for the same years of experience, education, and certifications? If so, a pay disparity is illegal. If it not all exactly the same, then there is no argument to be had: it's different and then there is a basis for unequal pay.

Too often these numbers are not comparing apples to apples, and therein lies the basis of a false premise.


User Rank: Moderator
10/6/2016 | 9:55:18 AM
Apples to Apples
How do the numbers look when you control for specific roles, years of experience, education, and skill levels?
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