The State of Wage
Inequality in the Workplace

Data reveals the wage gap is finally narrowing — but we’re not there yet

Key Findings

  • 3%

    The current wage gap in tech

  • 60%

    The percentage of time men are offered more for the same role, at the same company

  • 61%

    The percentage of time women are asking for lower salaries than men

  • 41%

    The percentage of time companies are interviewing only men for a given role

  • 65%

    The percentage of women that feel discriminated against in the workplace

  • 9%

    The average wage gap for Hispanic women compared to white men

  • 9%

    The wage gap in Boston — wider than all other major markets

  • 12%

    The wage gap within DevOps for men and women early in their careers

  • 8%

    The wage gap between LGBTQ+ women and white men

2019 State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace

Data reveals the wage gap is finally narrowing — but we're not there yet

Overview

For the past four years, we’ve gone deep into our career marketplace to study what the gender wage gap looks like for tech workers at some of the most innovative companies of our time. Because we have unprecedented visibility into tech workers’ salary preferences and company offers, we’re able to analyze the salaries candidates expect on our marketplace, the salaries companies offer, and how that changes across geography, age group, role, race, and sexual orientation. We also wanted to have a well-rounded understanding of how women and men think about the wage gap, so we paired our proprietary marketplace data with a survey of more than 2,600 tech workers. Our goal was to learn about their personal experience with pay inequality and workplace trends they have experienced first hand.

And for the first time, we can say we are seeing glimmers of progress

After two straight years of the wage gap holding steady at 4% it dropped to 3%. Companies are interviewing more women and most cities have improved their own wage gaps, and perhaps most importantly, women are even beginning to ask for salaries that match their market worth.

We release this proprietary (real) data based on salary offers made on our platform because we want to arm tech talent with the numbers they need to negotiate fair pay, and to help companies understand their role in reaching pay equality. There’s still a lot of work to be done — women are still experiencing discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and age, which negatively impacts salary offers — but the numbers show we might be headed in the right direction.

Section 1

The wage gap is finally narrowing

For the last two years, the wage gap hadn’t budged. Our 2017 and 2018 reports found that on average, women were offered 4% less than men for the same job at the same company. But this year, we’re finally seeing progress: the wage gap narrowed to 3%. A similar positive trend has emerged in salary offers to men and women. Men were offered higher salaries 63% of the time for the previous two years, but that has since improved by dropping to 60%.

60% of the time men are offered higher salaries than a woman, for the same role at the same company

While these changes show improvement, our survey further reveals that of the 61% of women who discovered they were being paid less than men at the same role in their company, 16% found the difference was at least $20K.

Distribution of the Gender Wage Gap

60% of the time men are offered higher salaries than women for the same job title at the same company and that companies offer women 3% less on average than men for the same roles.

Wage gap Frequency of roles
  • Job offers made to women that were less than job offers made to men
  • Job offers made to women that more or equal than job offers made to men

The width of this distribution indicates that there is a high variation in the salaries offered to candidates for the same job at the same company, and women have been offered less than men at least 60% of the time over the last three years.

Section 2

Women are starting to ask for their worth

There have been countless attempts to uncover the root of wage inequality — from biased hiring processes to varying levels of educational attainment between men and women, it’s proved difficult to pinpoint a single cause. New data might have an answer.

“The usual suspects - namely experience, occupation, and location - play a minor role in explaining the pay gap. But the data points toward a bigger culprit: Expectations. Women are being offered less because they are asking for less. Once we account for a candidates’ asking salary, the wage gap essentially disappears,” said Nina Roussille of UC Berkeley’s Opportunity Lab, who is studying the tech industry’s wage inequality problem, and conducting independent research through Hired's marketplace data.

This year, we found women are asking for 4% less than men, a 2% improvement from 2018 — and the data suggests it’s in part because women are beginning to ask for their market worth. Transparency on wage data is integral to affecting this change. In our 2018 report we saw women asking for less than men 66% of the time, and that dropped to 61% this year.

Our survey shows that a comparable percentage of women and men are asking for increases from an initial salary offer as well — 69% of women and 71% of men. Unfortunately, a gap remains in how often men and women receive those raises: 7% more men than women reported successfully negotiating higher wages.

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Frequency at Which Women Ask for Lower Salaries than Men

Data based on men and women interview requests by role
Section 3

More women want jobs in tech — but companies are slow to catch on

More companies are championing diversity programs that encourage women to apply to technical positions — but women are still not getting interviews at the same rates as men.

When we look at how often female candidates are getting interviewed, companies are interviewing only men for an open position 41% of the time. Evaluating representation by role is revealing, too: while design and product management see women equally represented, women are still underrepresented in software engineering, data analytics, and DevOps.

An organization’s public efforts to resolve underrepresentation and wage inequality contributes to candidates’ perception of companies, too. Our survey suggests that the more transparent companies can be, the better: 69% would be more interested in working for a company that publicly releases their internal salary data.

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Candidate Breakdown by Gender

  • Men
  • Women
  • 2018
    80%
    20%
  • 2019
    76%
    24%

Gender Frequency in the Candidate Pool

2018
  • 46% Men only
  • 6% Women only
  • 48% Men and Women
2019
  • 41% Men only
  • 5% Women only
  • 54% Men and Women
Section 4

Women aren’t taken seriously in the workforce

In addition to investigating our internal proprietary data, we surveyed more than 2,600 tech workers to surface women and men’s personal experiences with discrimination in the workplace: 72% of male respondents report they believe that a gender pay gap exists, along with an overwhelming 90% of female respondents.

Though the majority of both men and women believe there is a gap, they are personally affected differently. When asked if they have felt discriminated against in the workplace in the last five years because of their gender, 65% of women said yes, compared to just 11% of men. When asked how they most felt discriminated against, women pointed to the inability to be taken seriously by company leadership (40%), followed closely by unfair pay (38%). The majority of respondents (60%) noted finding out about being paid less through discussions with their colleagues about salary.

When women learn of a pay discrepancy, they’re taking action at a higher rate than men: 32% of women started looking for a new job, whereas men did so only 24% of the time.

Actions Taken by Women When They Learn of a Pay Gap

  • 33% I didn't take any action
  • 32% Started to look for a new job elsewhere
  • 26% Approached my manager to have a salary discussion
  • 4% Went to HR to inquire about discrepancy
  • 4% Initiated conversations with industry peers

How Women Are Discovering They Are Being Paid Less Than Their Peers

Section 5

Black and Hispanic women are still paid the least

In our third year examining how race impacts salary offers and salary expectations, we found a few key differences. Asian men reached the same pay grade as white men, even beating them out by a few hundred dollars with the highest average salary at 138K. Asian women are now the highest paid females, narrowly surpassing white women. When rounded to the nearest cent on the dollar, both white women and Asian women earn $0.97 for every dollar white and Asian men make, increasing from $0.96 and $0.95 respectively in 2018.

It is disheartening to see that black and Hispanic women are still offered the least, receiving average salary offers of $122K and $126K, respectively. Average salary offers for black men also slipped this year— they are offered a couple hundred dollars more than Hispanic women. In all racial categories, women asked for and were paid lower salaries than men. This aligns with our survey data, which found that one in five women felt discriminated against in the workplace due to their racial identity. We also found that many tech workers are becoming aware of the issue: 64% of female survey respondents believe a racial wage gap exists due to racial identity, while 54% of men believe it exists.

Wage and Expectation Gaps for Women by Race & Gender

$0.85 $1.00
Section 6

San Francisco has the smallest gap, Boston has work to do

With more Bay Area companies highlighting their equal pay policies and many US states including California recently signing the salary privacy bill, wage parity progress has been made in Silicon Valley, but still falls short. Our data shows that women working in San Francisco are offered on average 6% less than men in similar roles, which is the smallest wage gap compared to other major US tech hubs. For comparison, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York improved their gaps (now at 8%), whereas Boston didn’t budge (still at 9%).

It is important to note that these wage gaps are higher than the 3% average wage gap reported in the first section of this report. Our US local market data looks at the gap between the average man and the average woman in that market, while the 3% wage gap is based on salary offers for the same role at the same company.

Women’s representation in the candidate pool is lacking in every city. The percentage of underrepresentation also significantly increased for all cities compared to last year’s data.

Wage Gap by US City:
Preferred Salary vs Salary Offers

  • Expectation gap
  • Wage gap
Wage gap map

Women Representation in the Candidate Pool by City

  • San Francisco -22%
  • New York -31%
  • Seattle -39%
  • Boston -15%
  • Los Angeles -41%

The wage gap in San Francisco is lower than any other market analyzed in this report, whereas Boston’s wage gap is the highest.

Section 7

Older women experience the worst wage gap

When examining age data as it relates to the gender wage gap, inequality worsens with age. Women between 20 and 30 earn $0.97 for every dollar men earn in similar roles, but that gap increases to $0.93 for women between 41 and 45. One hopeful finding is that the wage gap shrank for nearly all age groups compared to last year.

In addition to age data, we also looked at years of experience and discovered that women with less than two years experience, as well as between three and four years experience, earn $0.98 to the dollar. The wage gap shrunk in nearly every experience category compared to last year’s earned and preferred salary data, except for women with 15+ years of experience.

Wage and Expectation Gaps for Women by Age

$1.00 $0.85
Age range

Sample sizes for the 51+ age groups weren’t large enough to be included in this report.

Wage and Expectation Gaps for Women by Years of Experience

$1.00 $0.85
Years of Experience
Section 8

Women in product management roles are making more off the bat

In 2018, our State of Wage Inequality report found that data analytics, design and software engineering roles were all offering women 8% less than men. Last year the wage gap was narrowest for product management salaries at 4%.

In 2019, our data shows that when it comes to starting salaries (0 - 2 years) women in product management roles are actually making more money than men in the same role by 5%. Additionally, the gap between men and women in starting data analytics and software engineering roles has narrowed, with men being paid 1% more in these positions. Despite these developments, some of the other technical roles have a long way to go. The wage gap is much larger for talent starting their careers in design and DevOps (7% and 12% respectively).

The Top Paying Starting Salaries for Women in Tech

For women, navigating the ever-changing wage gap in tech can prove difficult. That’s why this year we're revealing the top paying starting salaries (0 - 2 years) for women.

  • Product Management $135K
  • Software Engineering $114K
  • Developer Operations $107K
  • Data Analytics $106K
  • Design $99K

Technical Salaries for Women and the Wage Gap

Section 9

LGBTQ+ men and women earn less than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts

This year’s data revealed that LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) men are still being shortchanged in tech. Similar to last year, LGBTQ+ men are continuing to earn less than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts by 4% on average.

When it comes to LGBTQ+ women in tech, we did see a change from last year -- though disappointing. Last year we noted that for the first time on our platform, LGBTQ+ women were getting offered slightly more than non-LGBTQ+ women at a rate of 1%. This year, the results have changed slightly, revealing that on average, LGBTQ+ women are being paid less than non-LGBTQ+ women in the same role by 2%.

It is important to note that the data in this section reflects a smaller sample size, as fewer people choose to self-identify in their profile.

LGBTQ+ Status and Salary

$1.00 $0.90
LGBTQ+ men and women are earning less than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts

Conclusion

While we’re encouraged by the tech industry’s commitment to make a change and the positive trend toward closing the gap, it doesn’t stop here. We believe that equality should be a fundamental human right. Therefore we are committed to utilizing our connection between talent and companies to find a solution. Because of our unique insight, we have a responsibility to ensure that the tech industry is scaling with diversity, equity and inclusion top of mind. We know the issue can’t be fixed overnight, but we believe that data gives the information needed to create necessary change.

At Hired, we take a long-term view on this issue. While we are disheartened by some of the findings in this report, we are hopeful because for the first time this year we are finally seeing improvement with the overall wage gap shrinking. By sharing transparent salary data and shedding light on the issue at hand, we’re remaining diligent to ensure the progress that has been made doesn’t slip.

2019 State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace

Data reveals the wage gap is finally narrowing — but we're not there yet

Methodology

This report is based on proprietary data gathered and analyzed by Hired’s analytics and strategy team. The analysis in this study was done using a combination of voluntary, self-reported demographic data and a classifier that identified the gender of the candidate based on their first name. The results were based on a candidate’s self-identified gender, if present, before considering the predicted gender classifier.

Only data from candidates with unambiguous gender classifications were used in this report. Data related to race and LGBTQ+ status was collected through an optional, self-reported survey given to Hired candidates that is used only for aggregated research purposes and not shared with Hired clients. The salaries included reflect base pay only and are drawn from a sample set of more than 420,000 interview requests and job offers facilitated through our total marketplace of 10,000 participating companies and more than 98,000 job seekers.

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About Hired

Hired (Hired.com) is a marketplace that matches tech talent with the world’s most innovative companies. Hired combines intelligent job matching with unbiased career counseling to help people find a job they love. Through Hired, job candidates and companies have transparency into salary offers, competing opportunities and job details. This level of insight is unmatched, making the recruiting process quicker and more efficient than ever before.

Hired was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in the United States, Canada, France, and the UK.

For more information, news, and tips for job candidates and employers, visit Hired’s blog.