Tech wages: Women, minorities still paid less in 2020

A survey of tech firms in the US, UK, and Canada shows that the wage gaps with white men are decreasing for new hires, but many existing employees lost ground in several segments.

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For tech workers, it’s a case of bad news, good news.

An analysis of more than 10,000 tech firms’ hiring data shows that women and racial minorities are still paid less for the same jobs than their white male counterparts — but the gap in wages is narrowing.

Gay, lesbian, and transgender workers do better than their straight counterparts, both as candidates and employees, and being multiracial seems to boost a person’s chances of landing a job interview.

The anonymized data comes from the tech-jobs marketplace’s corporate clients and its 245,000 job-seekers, plus a survey of more than 2,000 tech employees.’s clients are all technology firms, and the jobs cover a broad range of functions, including technology and IT roles such as developers and engineers, and business roles such as sales associates, admins, and product managers.

The key findings for job candidates:

  • Men were offered higher salaries than women in 2020 for the same job title at the same company 59% of the time, though that is down from 65% in 2019. Men were offered 3% higher salaries in 2020 on average, versus 4% in 2019.
  • The salary-offer disparities in 2020 differ based on role and country despite equal qualifications. In the US, women software-engineering candidates were offered 3.9% less than men, while UK women were offered 5.8% less and Canadian women were offered 2.7% less. Canadian women were offered 4.9% less for data analytics roles than men, whereas both US and UK women were offered 1.7% less. In design roles, Canadian women were offered 3.8% less, versus 1.9% less for US women and 1.2% less for UK women. And for product roles, US women were offered 2.0% more than men, Canadian women got the same offers as men, and UK women were offered 0.6% less.
  • Equally qualified women were 20% less likely to receive an interview request in Seattle than men — the greatest gender-based disparity in hiring in the survey. New York was close behind at 19%, followed by Washington, D.C., at 16%; Los Angeles at 15%; the San Francisco Bay Area at 12%; Chicago at 11%; Boston at 9%; and London at 6%.
  • On average across all regions, equally qualified women candidates were 9% less likely to receive an interview request. In Toronto, equally qualified women were equally likely to receive an interview request as men, and in Denver, women were 2% more likely to receive an interview request than their equally qualified male counterparts.
  • Black candidates were offered 3.9% lower salaries than the overall average in 2020, though that’s an improvement from the 4.5% disparity in 2019.
  • Asian candidates were offered 1.1% lower salaries than the overall average in 2020, the same level of disparity as in 2019.
  • Equally qualified Asian and Black candidates were less likely to receive interview requests than the overall candidate pool: Asian candidates were 9.4% less likely and Black candidates were 1% less likely. Hispanic candidates were 4.2% more likely to receive an interview request than the overall candidate pool, white candidates were 6.5% more likely, and multiracial candidates were 15.7% more likely.
  • Gay and lesbian candidates were offered the same salaries as their straight counterparts in the US in 2020, but 2.4% less in the UK — and 0.4% more in Canada. does not have data from prior years for LGBTQ candidates’ salaries.
  • Equally qualified LGBTQ candidates were much more likely than straight candidates to receive an interview request in 2020: 22.4% more likely. That advantage has steadily increased from 15.2% in 2018 and 18.1% in 2019.

The key findings for existing workers:

  • Wages for women already employed at a tech company remained lower than for men by as much as 10% in major cities, but there was improvement across the board between 2019 and 2020.
  • The cities with the lowest gender-based wage disparities were Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Washington, D.C., where women earn 95% of what men make. Seattle followed at 94%; New York and Toronto at 93%; Boston and Chicago at 92%; and London at 90%. Austin and London saw the biggest improvements, both narrowing their wage gaps by 3% since 2019. Seattle and Boston showed no improvement during that period, with wage disparities holding steady.
  • Black men were paid the least of any group relative to white men, at 89%; Black women were the second-worst-paid, at 90%.
  • Black and Hispanic men saw their wage disparity grow between 2019 and 2020. Black men made 89% of white men’s salaries in 2020, down from 91% in 2019, while Hispanic men made 96% of white men’s salaries in 2020, down from 98% in 2019. White women also saw their wage disparity grow from 2019 to 2020, earning 92% of white men’s salaries in 2020 versus 93% in 2019.
  • Black women did much better in 2020 than in 2019, with their wages jumping from 87% of what white men made to 90% in 2020. But they are still near the bottom of the wage hierarchy.
  • Asian men and Asian women held steady between 2019 and 2020, earning 101% and 95%, respectively, of what white men made in both years. So did Hispanic women, holding steady at the 90% level as Black women.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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