A deep dive into crowdsourced salary data from more than half a million employees shows that the gender pay gap is very real, and that male computer programmers make far more than their female counterparts.
The Economic Research arm of online jobs marketplace Glassdoor has issued a report titled Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap that attempts to explain why males are making so much more than females across industries and countries. While the researchers have come up with explanations for much of the pay gap in the United States, about a third of the gap is unexplained and presumed to be due to factors such as intentional or unintentional bias as well differences in pay negotiations.
Glassdoor acknowledges that its findings, based on salary and named company data, are affected by the fact that those who shared information are “online employees” vs. those from the broader workforce who might not be inclined to share such data online (thus, Glassdoor’s view of the U.S. labor force, for example, would be different than that seen in the U.S. Census).
Having said that, the findings in Glassdoor’s study are striking. It shows that women earn about 76 cents for every dollar that men earn in the United States, though if you adjust those figures to take into consideration the industry in which people work, their level of experience, where they live and so forth, the gap is greatly reduced. This adjusted gender pay gap shows women making 94.6 cents for every dollar that men earn. Glassdoor finds a similar pattern in the U.K., Australia, Germany and France (I’ll be focusing on the U.S. from here on).
Glassdoor says the biggest cause of the gender pay gap in the U.S. “is women and men sorting into different jobs or industries with varying pay.” Age is also a factor, with the gap among employees 55 or older being about twice as large as the national average of 5.4%.
The adjusted gender pay gap is largest in the U.S. in healthcare (7.2%), insurance (7.2%) and mining/metals (6.8%), and smallest aerospace/defense (2.5%), agriculture/forestry (2.5%) and biotech/pharmaceuticals (3%).
Occupation-wise, male computer programmers make 28.1% more than their female counterparts, a slightly bigger gap than the next two occupations listed: chefs and dentists. The other IT occupation that stands out is information security specialist, where the gap favors males by 14.7%.
There are some occupations where the pay gap favors females. These include social worker, merchandiser and research assistant (in the 6.6% to 7.8% range), but the gaps are nowhere close to some of those that males enjoy.
“To help close the [overall] gender pay gap, we should focus on creating policies and programs that provide women with more access to career development and training, such as pay negotiation skills, to support them through their lives in any job or field they choose to enter,” says Dawn Lyon VP of corporate affairs at Glassdoor, in a statement. Not surprisingly, Glassdoor, which specializes in sharing data about the realities of working at many companies, also advocates for more pay transparency at organizations.