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Women in U.K. Tech Demand Too Little Money, Get Less, Study Says

  • Pay gap expands as they climb career ladder, reaching 31%
  • Companies advised to look at market data when setting salaries

Women in U.K. technology jobs are offered less money than men at every level, making the size of the gender pay gap multiply as they advance, according to a study of more than 10,000 employment offers by Hired Inc.

The median U.K. salary for women in technology fields like software engineering was 9 percent less than that for men, according to the firm, a website focusing on technology jobs. That compares with an overall gender pay gap of about 14 percent in the U.K.

In the U.S., where Hired is based, the overall gender pay gap is 19 percent, while the disparity for women in tech was 8 percent, according to Hired’s data.

Women starting their careers ask for roughly the same amount of pay as men do, but get about 7 percent less, the report said. At two to six years of experience, women still seek about the same pay but get 10 percent less.

Those discrepancies build up over the years, during which time women’s expectations of pay also decrease. Often, women ask for salaries that are 10 percent or 15 percent more than what they currently make, undervaluing themselves. Women with six years or more of experience ask for 18 percent less than men do, and they receive 31 percent less.

“Inequalities start off small, but that compounds with every raise, every job change and every promotion over the course of a woman’s career,” said Jessica Kirkpatrick, the Hired data scientist who prepared the report.

Using Data

Juney Ham, Hired’s chief marketplace officer, said the website allows companies to screen out an applicant’s photo and name to avoid unconscious bias. It also pairs each applicant with a “talent advocate” who looks over their profile and can suggest adjustments in pay requests.

“The wage gap can go away if we can have women set their wage expectations based on market data, rather than just adding a percentage to their current salary," Kirkpatrick said.

She should know. Kirkpatrick, who holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from University of California at Berkeley, said she earned $14,000 a year less than two men who had the same qualifications at her first job.

“That continued to propagate throughout my career,” she said, until she signed up on Hired’s website and wound up getting a job there in 2015. Kirkpatrick learned that her own pay requirements were about 25 percent too low.

“It’s been transformative for my career,” she says. “I feel like I’ve caught up to my market worth.”

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