Women Who Code Equal Pay Day Survey – 2019

Women Who Code Equal Pay Day Survey – 2019

Written by WWC Team


One of the reasons that women are 45% more likely to leave tech jobs mid-career is that the industry continues to be plagued by gender-based pay inequality. This is caused by a variety of factors including unconscious bias and a lack of salary transparency amongst technology companies. However, the result is that many women feel that they are not being valued for their efforts, which can lead to a lack of pride in their position and a lack of enthusiasm in their work, resulting in many leaving the company or the industry altogether.

In order to get more insight into this, Women Who Code conducted a survey of our members for the second year in a row to find out what their perceptions are about salary equity in tech, the impact, and how they feel the industry is evolving.

When asked if they believe male engineers are paid more than women, an overwhelming 93% of respondents answered in the affirmative, with 84.5% believing that it is worse for mothers. At the same time, 59.3% of people surveyed said that they believe the pay gap in tech is wider than in other fields. This shows that the majority of women are not only aware of gender-based pay discrepancies, but that it is a major part of how they view and perceive the technology industry.

This has obvious moral implications, but the effects go beyond that. According to a study by NCWIT, groups with greater gender diversity are able to solve complex problems faster and better than more homogenous groups, and companies with the highest representation of women in their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment than those with few or no women. At the same time, women make up only 26% of all computing jobs.

Without more women engineers, tech companies can’t be as effective as they could be, which translates into lower profits and weaker earnings. Unfortunately, corporate pay policies don’t seem to be aligned towards attracting and retaining female talent. According to our survey, 70.5% of women engineers believe that men at the company where they are currently working are earning more for the same job, and 65.8% said that they don’t believe their employers are doing enough to close the wage gap.

This problem is made more clear when you consider the fact that 60% of those surveyed reported having left a tech job specifically because of pay inequality, and an additional 19.6% said that it was a “big factor” in them leaving a place of employment. It typically costs a company nearly $200,000 to replace an experienced software engineer, so there would clearly be a direct financial benefit to companies that valued employees with equal pay for equal work. It remains, however, that the wage gap is a major problem for companies and they are losing their most experienced female employees.

One of the best ways for a company to reduce the wage gap internally is for them to implement transparent pay policies. When the problem is exposed to public scrutiny, it is easier to identify it and take steps to resolve it. This is a fact that is both known and valued by engineers, as evidenced by the fact that 89.5% of respondents to our survey said that they would be more likely to take a job at a company that follows transparent wage practices.

However, there does appear to be hope on the horizon. When asked if they believed that the wage gap could be solved in their lifetimes, the majority of women (83.8%) said that they thought it could. When we did this survey last year, only 72.3% of respondents felt that way. Even more encouraging is that 56.7% responded that they believed it could be solved in the next 10 years. That shows Women Who Code members are optimistic about this issue, and see the industry changing, if somewhat slowly, for the better.

About Women Who Code
Women Who Code (WWCode) is an international nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. WWCode is building a world where women are proportionally representative as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members, and software engineers. The organization has executed more than 8,000 free events around the world, garnered a membership exceeding 167,000, and has a presence in 20 countries. Help empower even more women to advance in tech with the training and community they need to succeed by supporting WWCode. Learn more at womenwhocode.com.