How can the NI Tech industry close its gender pay gap?

  • A recent report by Women in Tech shows that the gender pay gap in the Tech industry is persisting at the executive and middle management levels, with a staggering 75% or more of those jobs being filled by men.

    Despite men and women being represented in the industry on an equal level, recent statistics show that men are twice as likely to be in positions of management than women. Only 13% of roles are currently being filled by women at executive levels within large companies, and only 25% even at the mid-level.

    Substantial progress still needs to be made on this issue at the education level, with research conducted by PwC showing that only 27% of female students would actively seek a career in technology and only 3% would place technology as their first-choice career. This is staggeringly low compared to 61% of males stating their desire to enter the tech industry.

    The gender pay gap begins in school

    An increased effort by schools and educational institutions is being given to creating platforms and initiatives that highlight the equality in the field, but this isn't the only problem. The main factor that contributes to the disparity in pay now appears to be stereotypes. Interest in tech careers in girls is prominent at a young age, but the interest in entering tech fields diminishes as they mature and gender stereotypes are reinforced.

    A study mentioned in Gymnasium suggests that girls may hold themselves to a higher standard than boys as they mature faster. In subjects such as Maths and Science, research shows that girls feel pressure to be “exceptional” to be considered appropriate for traditionally male job roles. Girls are acutely aware that disparity exists in the sector even at this early stage, but the study also indicated that 6 out of 10 girls would be more confident in pursuing a career in tech if they knew they would be treated equally to male counterparts.

    What can be done?

    New regulations came into force in April 2017 that require any large UK company with over 250 employees to produce a gender pay gap report, which has been widely regarded as a positive step forward. Employers can also combat the divide by actively seeking to close the pay gap and making proactive movements towards an increase in women in technology management roles with equality in hiring and pay being resolved as a result.

    Those teachers responsible for STEM education can create an environment for young girls which promotes inclusivity and indicates the value in entering the industry. The apparent disparity in industry also needs to be diminished so that girls feel like that they will have equality of opportunity in their future careers.

    SOURCES: PwC Women in Tech, Gymnasium, Women in Tech, NI Pay Gap Statistics

    About the author

    Jamie is a Sync NI marketing intern with a keen interest in students, start-ups, and digital marketing. To connect with Jamie, feel free to send him an email or follow him on LinkedIn.

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