Equal Pay Day was first created in 1996. Back then, the National Committee on Pay Equity, an all-female group of volunteers, coined the term to bring awareness to the discrepancy in pay between men and women. It was not about women receiving less pay than men for the same work, it was about women as a whole, making significantly less than their male counterparts. Since then, a Tuesday in April is chosen each year to be Equal Pay Day, because that date represents how far into the next week (or next year) most women must work to earn what men typically earn in the previous week. Because Hired has unprecedented access to salary data – both candidate preferences and company offers – we’ve taken it upon ourselves to study what the wage gap looks like for tech workers specifically for the past four years in our annual State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace study.
For the first time in four years, the wage gap has shrunk slightly from 4% to 3%. This may seem small, but represents a major leap from awareness to execution. We’re seeing small changes happening across the board. Last year, men were offered higher salaries for the same role 63% of the time but that dropped to 60% this year.
Yes, companies have taken an active approach in shrinking the gap but our data points toward a bigger culprit: women are being paid less because they ask for less. More importantly, women and men (outside of California) are being asked for what salary they’re currently making and not based on what their skills are worth. This only perpetuates the problem by continually stacking on top of the existing wage gap and pushes the issue down the road for the next company to solve when they choose to hire. The only way to fix this issue is for women to understand their value in the marketplace as opposed to basing their next salary off of their previous one. I personally feel proud as Hired has paved the way on encouraging transparency at the beginning of the process but also has been committed to informing the marketplace, regardless of gender, of their worth. Women ask for less money than their male counterpart 61% of the time, which is an improvement from the year prior at 66% of the time and 69% in 2017. We’re definitely headed in the right direction but significant work still needs to be done. Building awareness through data is key in arming women with the understanding of their worth will build the collective confidence needed to ask for more.
Skills are genderless, especially in a digital world
One of Hired’s key tenants is to offer transparency with our data to inform tech workers exactly what their worth should be, regardless of gender, either in our State of Software Engineers and informing companies what candidates truly find important in our Employer Brand Health Report. Skills are genderless, and in the world of software almost all work is done digitally what factor does gender and race play in work production?
Since passing the Salary Privacy Bill, the bill which makes asking someone what they’re making currently illegal, California has made significant progress specifically in San Francisco / Silicon Valley where the wage gap is the lowest but still exists. However, female candidates in our SF Bay Area candidate pool represent only 22% of the entire pool compared to 31% in NYC.
Consider this: if the gender pay gap was eliminated, the US economy would add $513 billion in new income each year. Not only will this benefit women but also the economy by a considerable amount. Getting more states to adopt the Salary Privacy Bill is one step that will eradicate the existing gap and ensure that new paths emerge in where women are paid out for their skills and not their gender. Until that happens, women need to know their worth, have the data ready to inform their request and ultimately ask for what they deserve. More than any other method, empowering women through awareness is half the battle but the war is won in arming women with the confidence they need to ask for more, nothing less than their male counterparts, nothing less than what they are worth. As a father of two strong girls, my daughters deserve nothing less than what they’re worth.