New study shows women in tech ask for less — and receive it

According to a new study published by the data science team at Hired, a jobs marketplace for tech workers, the average female candidate sets her expected salary at $14,000 less than men.

Related or not, 69 percent of the time, men receive higher salary offers than women for the same job title at the same company. (On average, employers pay women 3 percent less for the same roles, though some companies offer as much as 30 percent less.)

Hired’s insights derive from how its platform operates. Tech candidates set a preferred salary, and all interview requests made by companies include compensation details. Its report includes a healthy size sampling, too; it looked at more than 100,000 job offers across 15,000 candidates and 3,000 companies.

It’s worth noting that most job seekers on Hired are between two and eight years out of college. Explains company’s lead data scientist, Jessica Kirkpatrick, “Very junior people tend to get recruited out of school, and more senior people get recruited by executive recruiting firms by companies willing to pay a premium for a C-level manager.”

Put another way, we don’t know where these trends lead for those with 10 to 20 years of experience, though Census Bureau data suggests things don’t right now balance out over time. (As you’ve likely heard, as of last year, U.S. women were still earning 79 cents for every dollar men earn.)

With that in mind, some more of Hired’s other findings include that bootstrapped and seed-stage companies have a gender wage gap that’s half that of larger corporations and companies that have taken advanced funding.

Presumably, there’s more parity owing to the greater transparency into operations that employees enjoy at smaller startups. Kirkpatrick further suggests that there may simply be less money to play with when it comes to paying some employees more than others.

A third possibility, she says, is that pay inequality manifests itself in equity allotments to employees at the earliest-stage startups.

According to Hired, the pay gap is also bigger in roles that feature a higher percentage of men, like heavily male-dominated software engineering roles.

This is where the so-called expectation gap is likely playing a role, says Kirkpatrick. Women are asking for less because they don’t know what their peers are making or, in some cases, they question whether they deserve the same amount. (Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou shared her own personal experience with this issue in a piece on Quartz published earlier today.)

Kirkpatrick also notes that a women’s comparative lack of success when it comes to negotiating for better pay (as documented by Catalyst, among others) can also take on a kind of snowball effect over time. If you get paid $15,000 less than your male counterpart in one job, it’s hard to make up the difference when your next employer asks you about your last salary.

There is, thank goodness, a silver lining. According to Hired, once employees know the salary expectations for a certain job, whether male or female, they tend to ask for the same amount, and they get it. “When people know their worth and set it appropriately,” says Kirkpatrick, “they get what they are asking for.”

Indeed, the biggest takeaway for readers, Kirkpatrick adds, is that women do their research at the outset of their job hunting process.

You can check out Hired’s round-up here.