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3 Reminders Why Women in Tech Should Always Negotiate Their Salary

Today, roughly 56 percent of the U.S. workforce is made up of women, meaning there are more working women contributing to society than men. But despite these numbers, recent research done on the gender pay gap has shown that there is no industry in which women earn more than men. It’s even worse if you’re a woman of color.

Perhaps the only thing that could make things more complicated for working women is to work in a male-dominated field like the tech industry, where computing jobs held by women are actually expected to decline from 24 percent to 22 percent over the next 10 years. For women working in tech struggling to feel valued in the modern boys’ club, it’s more important than ever to negotiate salary. Here’s why.

women in tech
Image Credit: WOCintechchat.com/Flickr

The Odds Are Against You (Even in Tech)

No matter which way you slice it, women simply earn less than men in America. When PayScale surveyed over 1.4 million people to investigate how gender relates to pay, we looked at both the uncontrolled (all men vs. all women) and controlled (accounting for education, experience, etc.) pay gaps. Here is what we found.

  • Uncontrolled Gender Pay Gap: Women earn -25.6 percent less (74 cents on the dollar)
  • Controlled Gender Pay Gap: Women earn -2.7 percent less (97 cents on the dollar)

When it comes to tech, which is male-dominated at all levels, PayScale found that even though salaries tend to be higher for both men and women in tech, the gender pay gap still exists. For perspective, let’s take a look at the gender pay gap in tech for two common job levels: individual contributor and manager.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Individual Contributors in Tech
  • Controlled Gender Pay Gap: Women earn -1.2 percent less than men.
  • Uncontrolled Gender Pay Gap: Women earn -18.8 percent less than men.
Managers in Tech
  • Controlled Gender Pay Gap: Women earn -1.1 percent less than men.
  • Uncontrolled Gender Pay Gap: Women earn -21.9 percent less than men.

Your Pay Gap Will Increase As You Get Promoted

It’s not the greatest news in the world, but it is a cold reality that we live with. When working women get promoted, and their careers begin to advance, the gender pay gap increases. Looking at the controlled gender pay gap, PayScale illustrated how job level affects the gap.

  • Individual Contributor Level: -2.2 percent gender pay gap
  • Manager Level: -3.1 percent gender pay gap
  • Director Level: -4.9 percent gender pay gap
  • Executive Level: -6.1 percent gender pay gap

What this tell us is that unless we’re negotiating our salaries at every level of career advancement, we face serious challenges in terms of pay equity. As it is, the women who experience the most success career-wise are the ones who suffer the most from the gender pay gap. 

If You Negotiate Your Salary Now, You Make It Easier For Other Women

We live and work in a culture where talking about salary is as taboo as talking about sex. By making the decision to negotiate your salary, you’re making it a little bit easier for every women who comes after you to negotiate their salary, too. The fact is that there there is an expectation out there that women don’t won’t even try to negotiate their salary. The best thing you can do for yourself and for all other working women in society? Ask.

Want to find out if you’re underpaid? Take PayScale’s free Salary Survey today.

Tell Us What You Think!

When was the last time you negotiated your salary? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!


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