Gender wage gap in tech nearly triples since 2016: report

Researchers call for 'systemic changes that address each group's unique barriers to entry' in tech

Gender wage gap in tech nearly triples since 2016: report

The slow walk to reaching gender wage equality took steps in the wrong direction in the technology industry in the past years, according to a recent report.

Overall, the gender pay gap in Canada’s tech workforce has almost tripled since 2016, report researchers from The Dais at the Toronto Metropolitan University.

On average, men in the Canadian tech sector earned $20,000 more than women annually, they say, citing the latest Census data. In 2016, men earned $7,200 more than women.

Women also remain underrepresented in the tech industry. While 7% of men working in Canada are engaged in tech work, only 2.1% of women working in Canada are in tech jobs. 

Overall, 40% of female professionals in North America feel underpaid for what they do, compared with just 24% among male respondents, according to previous data from Robert Walters.

What percentage of the tech industry is female?

The participation rate for women remains identical to that identified in 2016, while men’s participation rate has dropped from 7.8 percent in 2016.

Still, women now make up 22.1% of tech workers earning income, up from 20% in 2016.

“This is still significantly lower than the 49.4 percent of all workers who are women, and at this rate of change, it would take nearly 100 years for the gap to completely close,” says the researchers at The Dais.

At 32%, the share of women working in tech is now lower than it was in 1984, when it was 35%, according to a previous report by Techopedia.

Visible minorities are also not getting their due in the tech industry, according to The Dais.

While they are more likely to hold tech jobs, they are underpaid compared to non-visible minorities. Overall, 6.6% of workers in Canada with a visible-minority identity work in tech, compared to 3.8% of non-visible minorities. However, those with visible-minority identities only earn an average of $78,800 a year compared to $93,000 for non-visible minorities.

How to address gender pay gap

To make things better for women and Indigenous workers in the tech space, “systemic changes” are needed, according to the report from The Dais.

“Enabling both women and Indigenous Peoples to equitably participate in and be compensated for tech work requires systemic changes that address each group’s unique barriers to entry,” they say.

It’s also important for stakeholders to recognize that these two groups “do not represent the total of marginalized groups in Canada that may potentially face barriers to working in tech,” they say.

“Further research is needed to understand whether marginalized Canadians, including those who live with disabilities or those who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, are able to effectively participate in tech work, and if not, unpack why any differences might exist. Understanding and addressing the barriers that exist for all Canadians will be critical in ensuring that the benefits of increasing digitization are felt by all.”

Female employees are considerably less likely to ask for a raise, according to previous research from Robert Half Canada. 

Here are three steps that companies and government can take to help close the gender pay gap, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation:

  • ongoing audits of compensation and gendered advancement opportunities
  • prioritization of workplace flexibility, especially for mothers and caregivers
  • implementation of pay transparency policies

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