Women currently represent
less than one-fourth of the
U.K. IT workforce. And those
women who do make it into
the field are being paid less.
The Scorecard report shows
that in every year from 2001
to 2008 and across all age
groups, female IT professionals
consistently earned less than
male IT professionals. In
2008, women in IT earned 13
percent less than their male
The inequality is not just
unfair. It carries negative reper-
cussions that could spread across the industry—
and the nation, says Karen Price, CEO of e-skills
UK, London, England.
“In the current economic downturn, the country is relying more than ever on the capability of
the technology workforce to drive innovation and
productivity,” she says. “For the sector to be largely
missing out on half the talent pool in this way is
clearly a major concern.”
The pay gap between
male and female IT
workers age 16 to 29
The pay gap between
male and female IT
workers age 40 to 49
Source: Women in IT Scorecard
Do you think
EQUALIT Y ON HIGH?
The pay gap extends to U.K. project managers,
according to the Project Management Benchmark
Report 2009 released in February. Conducted by
U.K. recruiting firm Arras People, the survey
shows that 39 percent of U.K. male project managers earn more than £ 50,000 per year, versus
only 19 percent of women. Comparatively,
34 percent of women in project management
roles earn less than £ 30,000, while only 14 percent of men do.
“There is a distinct difference between salaries
achieved across gender when viewed as a percentage
of all respondents,” says John Thorpe, managing
director of Arras People, London.
He attributes the variance to the fact that
more women are likely to be working in project
support than in project leadership roles.
The theory is backed by the Scorecard, which
reports that female IT professionals account for just
19 percent of IT managers and 14 percent of IT
strategy and planning professionals, but comprise
nearly three-fifths of database assistants and clerks.
For those women who do make it out of
low-level positions, however, there are signs that
inequalities can be overcome, according to a
survey of more than 19,000 U.S. IT workers.
Conducted by the U.S. career site Dice between
August and November 2008, the study revealed
that, as a group, women earned 12 percent less on
average than men. But that gap vanished when
researchers looked at men and women from similar
levels of experience, education and job titles.
And that shouldn’t be a surprise, says
Constance Melrose, vice president at Dice
Holdings Inc., New York, New York, USA.
“At the end of the day, tech is about skills—
and applying those skills to a problem or
opportunity,” she says. “If you are a great programmer, security analyst or project manager,
gender shouldn’t play a role.”
MAKE THE DEMAND
The only way for women to receive fair pay is to
know their worth and negotiate accordingly,
advises Petra Goltz, PMP. Based in Rome, Italy,
she is chair of the PMI IT & Telecom Specific
Interest Group and project manager at SITA, a
global IT and telecom company in the aerospace
Working in IT positions in London early in
her career, Ms. Goltz says she was paid less than
her male colleagues, but once she learned to
negotiate for what she wanted, the inequalities
“If you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t
get it,” she says, adding that men tend to be more
aggressive and confident in salary discussions.
“Women are less adept at asking for what’s due to
them and are often fearful of rejection.”
But that’s how wage inequalities are maintained, Ms. Goltz says.
Women should go in armed with data about
what constitutes a fair wage in their position and
locale. She advises women to check job boards,
talk to IT workers in similar roles and visit job
centers to gauge their worth in the current job
market before sitting down to discuss salary.
“You can’t just dive into a job and then complain about it later,” Ms. Goltz says. “When you
are informed and ask for what you deserve, you
are less likely to undersell yourself.”