Tech pay gap between men and women grew last year

But pay gap narrows as workers move toward managerial ranks, according to Dice job survey

Men are making more money than women in technology jobs, about 12% more than they did last year, according to a salary survey by career site

The survey found that salaries for men increased by 2.4% in 2007 but stayed flat for women. The average salary last year for men was $76,582, and for women, it was $67,507, according to Dice. The gap widened last year: In 2006, the difference between salaries paid to men and women was 9.7%.

Thomas Silver, senior vice president of marketing at Dice, which is part of Dice Holdings Inc. in New York, said employers need to look at the salary data, and if they have workers with comparable skills and experience doing comparable jobs, then "that gap needs to be closed."

Dice said it collected the salary data from more than 19,000 technology professionals who use its site. Respondents either filled out an online survey or replied to a request for information sent via e-mail. "We feel comfortable that what we're seeing here is in fact representative of what's happening in the marketplace," Silver said.

The gender gap, which Computerworld also found in its own salary survey late last year, was highest for tech workers in the retail, mail-order and e-commerce industries, with men making 15% more than women. The industry with the narrowest wage gap is manufacturing, at a 6.4% difference in salary.

But as people work their way up in an organization to managerial jobs, the gender gap tends to shrink. Female project managers earned $100,436 last year, which is the first year that Dice's salary survey topped the six-figure mark for women. Men still made a little more at $101,569.

From the data, Silver said it's clear that an IT worker who stays in the field, has good skills and experience, and can become a manager will move into jobs that pay well.

"Companies are willing to pay for experience," said Silver, and that was reflected in the pay increases by age, with those over 40 seeing increases of 2.3%. Entry level workers, who received 13.2% increases in 2006, saw a slight decline last year.

The best paying jobs in IT were those with hard-to-find skills, Dice said. Those with skills in ETL (extract, transform and load) earned $96,559; ERP (enterprise resource planning), $95,589; SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), $95,387. The highest-paid operating system skill was Solaris, where workers were paid $90,321.

Overall, IT salaries increased last year by 1.7% to $74,570, Dice said. By region, the three highest-paying areas were Silicon Valley, at $93,876, a nearly 4% gain since last year; Boston, $83,465, which also increased by about 4%; and the Baltimore/Washington area, at $81,750, at 2.3%

In its list of 16 metro areas, Detroit was at the bottom with an average tech salary of $67,271, a less than half-percent increase over last year. Salaries in San Diego were higher than Detroit, but it was one of three job markets to see a decline in salaries to $75,994, a drop of 4.3%. The others posting declines were Phoenix at $71,246 and down 4.97%, and Seattle, $79,636, down 0.19%.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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