Saturday, March 26, 2016

Nope, Still wage disparity in Tech

The Quartz article had a very catchy title of “There is no gender gap in tech salaries”. Unfortunately that statement although catchy, and wishful-thinking, it can’t be applied to all of the technology sector as it can’t be proven from a single study of 14,000 new graduates freshly hired in the year 2009.

This is a contentious issue, we need more data to find out if, and how radical is the wage difference. The AAUW report was on the DoE Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study 2009 that sampled about 14000 new graduates compared to the US Census reports there are about 6M degree holding census respondents in the 25-29 age group. What would be great is if we can get the US census information broken out by gender. I’ve only seen the data by decade groups by age, i.g.: 20-24, 25-29 years old groups. I’d love to see some STEM group that conducts similar survey data and prompt them to fully break out this data as well as poll women from groups like IEEE ACM, Grace Hopper/Anita Borg InstituteWITI, SWE, AWIS, SVforum, etc…

Down to the Numbers
The numbers quoted in the Quartz article begged closer inspection as the graphs quoted from the AAUW study seem to counterintuitive. It seems weird that employment by major should differ from employment by occupation. In page 14 and page 17 of the AAUW study, employment by major and gender is reversed then employment by occupation, earning for engineers and eng tech, is 55,142 for men, and 48,493 for women yet Engineers is listed as the same for men and women at 55,046.

I pulled the raw stats from Department of Education that conducted the study. The DoE stats tool recommended I change my weighting to limit it down from 14600 to 13500. This it to account for data points in the follow-on study from 2012. The numbers from the AAUW study doesn't seem to lineup.

Here's a link to the stats, and DoE table generation information.

For 2009, women made more in Health Care Professionals, Physical Scientists, Other Educators, post secondary Educators, Social Scientists, and Social Service Professionals.
They were statistically the same in Business/Legal Support, PK12.

Men are shown in orange and Women in blue

For 2012, women made more in Health Care Professionals, Physical Scientists, and Post Secondary Educators. They were statistically the same in PK12 and Social Service Professionals.

Men are shown in orange and Women in blue

Women engineers in 2009 made 81% compared to male engineers. And women engineers increased to 88% in 2012 compared their male counterparts.

I wish there was no wage disparity. The fact that there is wage disparity doesn't stop me from personally pushing my envelope. That is what I hope inspires young women to keep going. Those that pursue and achieve excellence will be rewarded. I've been very lucky to find male allies in the workforce such that I felt I was fairly compensated. In times that I didn't feel that I would be fairly compensated, it would cause me to take a hard look at the team, and ask is it worth it? Is their culture hard driving and fair? Do they value correctness more than favoritism? Being a monitory has benefits, I been sought out by diverse teams, i.g., one of the co-founders was a openly gay man. They were one of the nicest bunch of people I've interviewed. 

It's 2016 already. I'm going back to my much needed research as I've taken too much time to talk about something that shouldn't exist. We're all humans, and if we do the same job, and have the same skills, we should be paid the same.