Spurred on by a string of high-profile incidents, Silicon Valley’s long-simmering debate about gender and power spilled into the public view in 2017. First, Susan Fowler’s viral blog post sent shockwaves through Uber’s ranks, citing a macho culture defined by prejudicial and predatory behavior. James Damore took the opposite tack in his own tendentious post, resulting in his condemnation and firing by Google. While differences of opinion abound, one truth is undeniably clear: When it comes to opportunities for men and women in the workplace, corporate giants can no longer consider their cultures a private matter.
In this project, we sought to continue this conversation about gender equity in tech and other fields through a data-driven approach. We analyzed the prevalence of women in tech and leadership positions in a range of industries and companies, leveraging millions of data points contained in our database to understand where diversity is flourishing, and where significant progress remains to be made. Our findings can inform efforts to rebuild tech as an inclusive industry and show which firms and fields are already leading the way. Continue reading to learn more about the equivalent representation and compensation of women across industries.
First, we studied which industries were most overwhelmingly male, and which possessed the greatest proportion of women in tech and leadership roles. The pharmaceutical, food and beverage, insurance, and education fields had the largest percentage of positions in our database held by women. While gender equity in these fields certainly seems to be improving, female professionals are likely underrepresented even in these industries. As women comprise almost 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, their success in these fields is encouraging, but likely falls short of true equality of opportunity.
Still, opportunities elsewhere were dramatically scarcer. Labor-intensive fields traditionally composed primarily of male workers saw their histories translate to tech and leadership jobs as well. For instance, less than 15 percent of these positions were held by women in the machinery, military, aerospace, and automotive industries. Even in some industries without overtly masculine cultures, such as communications, men possessed the overwhelming majority of tech and leadership jobs.
When we plotted the progression of earnings using millions of salary records in our database, men in tech and leadership positions earned more than their female peers in every major city we considered. These findings once again confirm America’s lingering gender pay gap – for every dollar men make, women take home 83 cents. According to our figures, the widest compensation gulf was in the Bay Area, where female professionals take home nearly $20,000 less than men do. Allegations of gender discrimination in pay and hiring practices have rattled Silicon Valley of late, embroiling titans such as Google and Uber in litigation.
Men in tech and leadership positions earned more than their female peers in every major city we studied.
Seattle’s gender pay gap in tech and leadership positions was close to that of the Bay Area, with the average male worker earning almost $19,000 more annually than women in the city. Los Angeles had only slightly better figures, a surprising finding given the city’s relatively strong record for pay equity across all industries. New York City boasted the lowest gap in terms of dollar figures, but hold on before praising the Big Apple. The city also had the lowest average pay for all workers, meaning it’s gender gap is just as large proportionally as that of cities where tech salaries are higher.
When we considered the industries that boasted the greatest percentage of women in tech and leadership positions, two industries dominated the list in our database: the retail and pharmaceutical fields. Indeed, the top three companies with the greatest percentage of female tech and leadership employees belonged to the pharmaceutical field, and the next three were major retailers. Insurance companies were also represented, with nearly 4 in 10 tech and leadership positions each occupied by women at UnitedHealth Group and Anthem.
Where women made the most, they were also a relatively small part of the workforce.
When it came to the best compensation for female employees, however, some of the tech industry’s titans came to the fore. Netflix and Uber each paid women roughly $270,000 on average – a sizeable sum even by Silicon Valley standards. A troubling trend can be observed here as well, though: Where women made the most, they were also a relatively small part of the workforce. At all but 4 of the 15 companies that paid female workers the most, less than a fifth of tech and leadership positions were held by women.
Women With Long Resumes
When we considered which companies were home to the most experienced female professionals, health care-related fields stood out. At pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc., for instance, more than 71 percent of women in tech and leadership positions boasted 11 or more years in the workforce. UnitedHealth Group also claimed a distinguished group of female tech and leadership professionals, with all but around 21 percent of women possessing six or more years of experience.
According to our database, however, fashion retailers seemed to attract female tech and leadership talent earlier in their careers. The Gap, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Nordstrom were home to the most women with less than two years of workforce experience, suggesting fashion retailers may offer stronger opportunities for skilled female employees at the start of their professional careers. Or perhaps tech’s continuing disruption of the fashion industry is simply creating more tech and leadership positions in the field than ever before – and young, talented women are seizing these opportunities.
Skills of the SexesLooking at the specific skills of men and women in each industry, we also explored whether employees’ particular talents tended to differ by gender. One apparent trend was that men in tech and leadership roles were often more likely to possess specific coding skills, such as Java in the IT, tech, and financial services spaces. Perhaps recent efforts on the part of elite computer science universities to reach and recruit talented women will help reverse this difference in the years to come.
One positive theme presented in these results was the abundance of management skills among female professionals. Abilities such as program management and process improvement ranked among the top skills for women in IT, technology, telecommunications, and financial services – an encouraging sign for those who advocate for female leadership in these fields. Perhaps these data points indicate a brighter future for women attaining even more top tech positions in the years to come.
Seizing Your Own Opportunities
As this project’s data indicate, companies differ greatly concerning culture, composition, and compensation. Despite evident differences, we hope our findings encourage all business leaders to continue to invite women into tech and leadership positions. While our data attest to significant progress, they also demonstrate just how much improvement remains to be made.
For your own professional path, let Paysa help you earn the opportunities and compensation you deserve. Through our artificial intelligence algorithm, we’ll help you understand fair rates of pay for your own skill set and uncover tools to grow your salary in time.
For this project, we analyzed millions of technology and leadership positions to derive statistics related to gender, salary, and time in the workforce. To do so, we examined 483 companies with at least 500 employee records in our database.
While our data are extensive, they should not be interpreted to represent all companies in a given industry, nor are they inclusive of all employee records at each company. Our findings may differ from a given company’s internal metrics accordingly.
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