Glass ceiling for women in IT persists
- By Jennifer DiSabatino
- May 16, 2000
A government report released last week says women continue to be relatively
underpaid and underrepresented in the information technology work force.
According to the report, released by the president's Council of Economic
Advisers (CEA), women comprise 47 percent of the general work force, but
only 29 percent of IT jobs are held by women. And there is a pay disparity
that is particularly acute at the high end of the scale.
Using nationwide figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the CEA compared
the jobs and salaries of women with those of men in IT, then adjusted the
data to account for factors such as race, age, hours worked and education.
The report concluded that there is a pay gap in hourly compensation
of 22 percent in favor of men, or 17 percent when adjusted for the other
factors. Moreover, "women are most underrepresented in the IT occupations where pay is the highest," the report says. In electrical engineering, for example, only 10 percent of the work force is female.
That creates an "occupational disparity [that] contributes to a lack
of women in the highest paid jobs. While 18 percent of men employed in IT
earn $70,000 or more, only 8% of women earn this much," according to the
There is also a gender disparity among executives at start-up companies.
Reports from private groups that have studied women in IT said this may
partly be due to the fact that start-ups rely on the male-dominated venture
capitalist field for board members.
Still, there's some good news. IT jobs, in general, pay women well above
the median income for women in non-IT jobs. Women in full-time IT positions
earn a median income of more than $38,000. That's 60 percent higher than
the median income for women working outside IT, which is $23,900, according
to the report.