The male-dominated technology industry may not seem like the most obvious place to start overcoming the decades old issue of gender inequality in the workplace, but some big-name tech companies are putting forth some serious effort.
In 2015, Salesforce spent $3 million to equalize pay among the company’s workforce. Marc Benioff pointed out, “We did find quite a few women who were being paid less than men and we’ve made that change.” In addition, Mr. Benioff strongly encouraged other CEOs to delve into their own companies’ gender-related salary discrepancies and make the necessary adjustments.
Just recently, Apple reported that women’s salaries are 99.6% of men’s; and Microsoft and Facebook provided data to show that men and women “of equal worth” were paid equally.
But there is still a lot of work to be done. Here in the United States, The Institute for Women’s Policy Research points out that closing the gender gap would have a strong, positive impact on the economy. They calculated that if women in the U.S. earned pay equal to their male counterparts, it would have added $482 billion to the economy in 2014 as well as cut the poverty rate for working women in half.
While, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men generally seem to make about 20% more than women in the same positions, technology jobs, such as computer programmers, software developers, and information systems managers are starting to rank among the highest paying jobs for women. That being said, men still hold about 70% of tech jobs—and the percentage is even higher for leadership roles in tech companies.
Perhaps the U.S. could look to Australia for some pointers since some top technology companies there are doing better than most when it comes to filling high level leadership roles with women. Microsoft Australia, Intel Australia and Twitter Australia all have female managing directors. Australia also boasts a good number of successful female tech entrepreneurs.
With just about half of the world’s population being women—and, as Pip Marlow, managing director at Microsoft Australia points out in this TechRepublic post, with “women accounting for $20 trillion in consumer spend every year”—this segment is important and is tired of being overlooked.
It’s encouraging that some of the top tech companies are putting real programs and policies in place to correct the gender inequality issues, but there are many more—in many industries—that could benefit from moving forward on this issue with the same speed and energy they exert in new technology innovation. Companies that wait too long to bridge the gender gap are going to find themselves quickly falling behind their competition.
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