The number of women in technology who believe that their pay package is not comparable to that of their male counterparts has increased over the last two years, according to a new survey.
Intellect’s 2010 Perceptions of Equal Pay Survey found that half of women surveyed did not believe their pay was equal, which included 14 percent who were certain about this, and 36 percent who believed it but did not have evidence to support it. The latter number was up 12 percent compared with the survey’s 2008 results (24 percent).
In addition, the number of women who are certain that their pay is comparable had fallen from 15 percent in 2008 to 11 percent last year, and respondents who, without evidence, thought it was comparable, had fallen from 32 percent to 30 percent.
“Having worked in IT for almost 10 years I can categorically state that I am still earning much less than many male counterparts,” said one survey respondent, anonymously.
“In my last job men with the same level of industry experience were earning double what I was, and I was constantly refused training that I requested while they were not. This has negatively impacted on my career prospects, to the point where I am now considering leaving the industry.”
The IT industry association questioned 119 women from the technology sector for the survey, with 75 percent of respondents coming from large companies.
Although most respondents believed that their pay was an accurate reflection of their experience and skills (59 percent), this figure had fallen slightly from 62 percent in 2008.
The survey reveals that companies’ pay structure has become less transparent over the last few years, with 63 percent of respondents in 2010 saying that their organisation does not make clear the methods by which it awards salaries, bonuses and benefits, compared to 57 percent two years prior.
The lack of transparency is not helped by the fact that few companies appear to carry out Equal Pay Audits – just two percent of respondents said their organisation did, a significant decrease on the eight percent who said yes in 2008.
Most respondents (71 percent) did not know if their organisation conducted the audits, while 27 percent said that their organisation did not.
Carrying out an Equal Pay Audit might be worth doing for companies that don’t already do them, for motivational reasons. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said their opinion of their employers would improve if they knew they had conducted an audit, while 82.4 percent of women said they would be encouraged to work for a company that carried them out.
Moreover, an overwhelming number of respondents, 86 percent, believe that the Equal Pay Audits should be compulsory, in order to eliminate gender bias from the pay system.
Maggie Berry, managing director at womenintechnology.co.uk, said: “I think that equal pay audits could be a useful tool in ensuring that women and men are paid equivalent salaries for doing the same jobs.
“In addition, women always need to make sure they ask for relevant pay rises and negotiate on job offers, as there's anecdotal evidence to suggest that men often do this, but women don't as much, and this contributes to salary discrepancies.”
Carrie Hartnell, associate director at Intellect, agreed with Berry: “A more concerted effort is required to address the issue of equal pay between men and women in the sector. Companies should be encouraged to carry out Equal Pay Audits.”
However, Hartnell said that the survey also found that the technology industry is becoming increasingly aware of the business case for work-life balance, and that there was some positive findings regarding promotion.
“We were pleased to see that respondents believe their companies supported the policies of diversity and flexible working,” she said.
“It is also worth noting that 73 percent of respondents believe their organisations encourage women and men equally to apply for promotion and more than two-thirds believe that they would be treated the same if they asked to be promoted.
She added: “If we are to ensure women have opportunities to advance their careers and rise up the corporate ladder, then they require fair and equal treatment in the promotion stakes.”