Tech companies offer lower salaries to women, data shows

Hired studied salary offers in the tech industry and found that men are being offered more money.

Posted April 12th, 2016

A gender wage gap analysis done by jobs site shows that technology employers are frequently offering women lower salaries than men for the same jobs at the same company. found that 69 percent of the time men receive higher salary offers than women for the same job title at the same company.  And tech employers are offering women salaries that are 3 percent less than men for the same jobs. 

This analysis was released on Tuesday, which is also Equal Pay Day, a day intended to draw attention to the gender wage gap. April 12 is how far into the year the average women must work to match the average man's earnings from the previous year. On average, women make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to Census data.

The technology sector is a key employment base in Austin, accounting for about 110,000 local jobs as of the first of the year, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association.

Because Hired helps connect tech employers with job seekers through a  process that involves reviewing and accepting job offers, the company has an insider vantage point to study the gender wage gap. 

Hired has access to not only salary offers being extended to job candidates, but it knows the "salary expectations" that job seekers set. One of Hired's more interesting conclusions about the causes of the wage gap is that women are setting their salary expectations lower than men do. 

For instance, the average woman using Hired sets her expected salaries at $14,000 less per year than the average man. (One caveat to this data is that there are many more men than women using Hired.)


Data scientist Jessica Kirkpatrick, who helped compile this data for Hired, said in Austin the "expectation gap" is actually lower - only 9 percent. During a phone interview, Kirkpatrick said that when Hired controlled for the women and men with the same level experience applying for the same role, the expectation gap narrowed to 3 percent. 

The reason there is an "expectation gap" at all is due to several factors, Kirkpatrick said, including that men are disproportionately represented in higher-wage jobs, such as software engineering, but also that women tend to be paid less than men in their first jobs out of college, which can impact their salaries for the rest of their careers.

That's why Kirkpatrick found that the expectation gap widens as years of experience increases. 

Women might also under-sell themselves, she said. For instance, before she started working for Hired, Kirkpatrick used the Hired platform to try to get a job. A talent advocate who works for Hired told her that she was under-pricing herself by $30,000. She ended up getting a job that paid her $30,000 more than she had originally expected. 

Because various studies have shown women can be punished for acting too aggressively in negotiations, Kirkpatrick argues Hired helps solve this problem by being up front about salary expectations at the start. 

"Having the salary transparency takes away some of the pressure of negotiations," Kirkpatrick said. 

Hired is releasing studies like this to try and encourage companies to focus more on "market value" versus what a candidate is currently paid, which can be influenced by biases or inequities. 

Kirkpatrick's study also revealed a few promising trends for women. 

Younger, smaller companies tend to have smaller wage gaps than bigger, established players. 

Hired theorizes that startups might pay more fairly because they have more salary transparency and have more rigid salary scales, in part because they typically offer equity in the company to many early hires. 

Hired's study looked at over 3,000 companies that were sending offers to 15,000 candidates. Their data is fairly recent -the company only looked at offers made in 2015 and 2016.  About 16 percent of Hired's job candidates are women. 

Though this data set certainly includes Austin, we weren't able to get city-level gender wage gap information. It's likely that it is more representative of salary negotiations in San Francisco or New York, their biggest markets.

Hired works with primarily tech employers, such as Facebook. In Austin it works with Spredfast, RetailMeNot and Under Armour in jobs such as software engineering, product managers and sales and marketing. 

Though this study didn't have much Austin-specific data, the company had previously done a more general salary study that was released in December. It concluded that even though Austin pays the third-lowest salaries of the companies it works with, the city is the bargain in the country when cost of living is factored in.