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Pay parity for women in tech is a priority

Nabila Salem, President - Revolent

In light of the rising cost of living – which will affect women more than men—new research has found that a third of women (31%) working in the fast-growing tech industry feel uncomfortable asking for a pay rise.

In addition to juggling the demands of work, more than 75% of all caregivers are female. With 90% of all of UK’s single parents being women, that means they could be hit the hardest by the cost of living crisis, as according to a recent study by New Economics Foundation single parents will see bills rise 56% faster than the average UK household.

As the UK’s gender pay gap currently sits at 7.9%, and as high as 28% for roles in the tech sector, this also suggests that the cost of living crisis could be affecting women more than men, as the vast majority of women already spend a third or more of their disposable income on rent, as the rates reach a 13-year high.

Tech has long been known as a lucrative sector with high salaries, and it has seen rapid growth following the outbreak of the pandemic. However, new research* has found that only a quarter of women working in tech say they’d feel comfortable asking their employer for a pay rise. This falls in line with a recent study by Glassdoor, which found that 67% of women did not ask for a pay rise in 2020, compared to just 37% of men.

Amongst the main reasons cited as to why they would feel uncomfortable negotiating for a rise, were a lack of knowledge on how to do it and not feeling at ease asking for a rise in their workplace. Employers could be doing more to tackle this inequality, and research in the field indicates a number of crucial steps that employers could take to help women negotiate a fairer salary for their work, including:

1. Implementing salary transparency
Almost three quarters of the workers surveyed by Glassdoor believe that pay transparency is good for employee satisfaction. Having a clear salary band on the job advert limits the need for negotiation, and it could also help to attract a wider pool of candidates, since salary and benefits is one of the first things that jobseekers look for.

2. Establishing clear career progression routes
Research by the Government Equalities office found that high levels of informality, paired with a lack of transparency in appointment and promotion, could put women at a disadvantage. “Informality opens up the possibility of decisions on pay and promotion being made less by reference to performance than by a process of social cloning and male-dominated networks,” the study cited, suggesting that employers could therefore do more to establish formal career planning tracks and job ladders, while making these opportunities and eligibility factors available to all.

3. Encouraging more female role models
With the number of female CEOs on the Fortune 500 tech companies list dropping by an astounding 14% over the last five years, and senior female role models lacking, especially in gender-disparate sectors like tech, employers could also do more to showcase aspirational profiles and career journeys of women in senior management or C-suite roles. This will help to change the prevailing stereotypes of what kind of person works, succeeds and gets promoted within the tech industry.

Meanwhile, for women who feel they currently lack the confidence or skills to ask for a pay rise, Nabila Salem, President of Revolent, recommends taking a data-driven approach when sitting down at a negotiating table with their employer. “Knowledge is power, and power gives confidence,” explains Salem. “So, do some research into the average pay in the wider industry for similar roles by looking at recruitment boards or job comparison websites. It’s much easier to go into that conversation with your employer if you’re armed with some data to help back your points up. Also, make sure you’re keeping track of your achievements and find ways of showcasing those to your management. Find ways to make yourself seen to ensure that people know what you do, and how this work brings value to the business.”

*research from Revolent

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