Women in IT: A Lopsided Pay Scale

Men continue to make more than women for the same IT jobs.

According to Computerworlds annual Salary Survey, male IT professionals continue to outearn their female counterparts.

At the highest level of IT, male CIOs and vice presidents made on average $179,026 in total compensation this year, while women in the same jobs took in nearly $6,000 less, at $173,052. The pay differences between middle managers and technical workers are similarly unequal.

This salary inequity between men and women in IT is a longstanding issue, but it could have short-term consequences for companies that pay female IT workers less, according to Umesh Ramakrishnan, vice chairman of CTPartners, an executive recruiter in New York.

The pay package is what it is for the best executive, regardless of gender, says Ramakrishnan. Its a rather shortsighted view if youre paying a female executive less. Youre not going to hold onto that person very long.

Ramakrishnan says while he hasnt seen a difference in compensation packages between the male and female IT executives he has helped place, he has seen pay inequities between men and women in lower levels of the IT organization. In many workplaces, the inequity is the result of longstanding differences in pay that have yet to be corrected, he says.

For women who feel that they are underpaid, Ramakrishnan offers this advice: Find out what your peers are earning at similar companies, and present your findings to a supervisor or human resources representative to illustrate your market value.

It lets the company know youre thinking about it, and it lets them know whether youre well paid or underpaid, he says.

Karen Piper, a business intelligence analyst at Ball Corp., a Broomfield, Colo.-based maker of food and beverage containers, says she believes that the salary gap between men and women has narrowed in recent years. But she doesnt think the IT landscape is necessarily a level playing field.

Men dont have to work as hard as women to get promoted, says Piper, a 20-year IT veteran. Female IT workers have to go above and beyond to advance, she says.

Others arent sure theres a correlation between gender and pay. Didi Raizen, an IT applications manager at Flatiron Construction Corp. in Longmont, Colo., says she doesnt think she earns less than her male peers at other companies. Women have demonstrated their value in the IT realm, she says.

Tammy Wicks, a business applications analyst at FedEx Freight Corp. in San Jose, says she, too, is unsure whether theres salary inequity between men and women in IT. But she says she does know this: My salary still outweighs my husbands.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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