The Wage Gap Still Exists. Here are 3 Straightforward Ways to Narrow It

If you’re a tech worker who identifies as a woman, person of color or member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community, you may wonder if you’re being paid fairly compared to your colleagues.

Here’s the short answer: No.

Job-search marketplace Hired recently conducted a survey that confirms other reports that show a canyon-sized gap in wage equality in the U.S. tech industry.

Research results show that white men outearn women and minorities at an astonishing rate.

wage gap

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Non-LGBTQ men outearn everyone in the LGBTQ community, with LGBTQ men taking second place on the compensation scale. Non-LGBTQ women come in third, followed by LGBTQ women in last place.

According to Hired’s survey, LGBTQ women earn less than $110,000 while their male non-LGBTQ counterparts earn over $120,000 in comparable positions.

3 Steps You Can Take to Help Narrow the Wage Gap

It’s tempting to blame unfair practices in the tech industry for all wage inequality issues, but research shows there’s more to the pay gap problem than clueless hiring managers.

1. Make Sure You Get Paid What You’re Worth

Women, we’re bringing some of this on ourselves.

“When examining our candidates’ preferred salaries, we discovered that for 69% of the roles for which both a man and a woman were given an initial offer, women set their preferred salary less than men,” researchers say. “Women asked for an average of 4% less than men, though this number rose to as much as 80% in some cases.”

The good news is women are getting better at asking for higher salaries and recognizing they deserve to get paid what they’re worth.

“Instead of basing salary expectations off your current salary, which can perpetuate past wage inequalities, candidates should base their salary requests off their market worth using objective, third-party salary data that takes years of experience, skillset and location into account,” suggests Hired’s data scientist, Dr. Jessica Kirkpatrick.

“Thanks to online resources, it’s becoming easier to find objective salary information. For example, Payscale offers free salary surveys for people looking to get a new job or negotiate their current salary.”

It pays (literally!) to know your value in the workplace because women who specifically ask for more money than their male colleagues usually get it, especially women with four years of work experience or less.

2. Find Your Tribe

Women, people of color and LGBTQ community members can fight back against wage inequality by connecting with employers who embrace inclusivity.

  • Check with local schools, universities and civic organizations for networking events that could result in job leads.

3. Interview the Interviewer

When you find a job you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure the organization is a good fit for you.

“One way to evaluate companies is during the final phases of the hiring process,” Dr. Kirkpatrick says. “After receiving an offer, I encourage candidates to ask questions that reveal how important diversity, equality and inclusion are to the company.

“One phrase that job seekers may find helpful is, ‘it’s important for me to understand more about the company’s philosophies on [diversity, equality and inclusion],’” she recommends.

“Asking these types of questions can help job seekers understand the company’s values and know if this is the right place for them to be.”

Your turn: How do you combat wage inequality in the workplace?

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s always looking for fresh ways to help readers find satisfaction at work. Look her up on Twitter @lisah to share your favorite tips.