Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Few world leaders have carved out as distinctive a niche in the annals of history as Wu Zetian, generally believed to be the only woman to ever hold the title of empress regnant, ruler of all China. After serving as a concubine to successive emperors in the Tang dynasty, Wu began to exercise ultimate authority in 655, after Emperor Gaozang suffered a debilitating stroke, and ruled openly from 690 to 705.
It will not surprise students of world history to learn that Wu is believed to have been both ruthless and cunning, scheming her way to the throne by serially eliminating rivals for power, exercising cruel vendettas, and basically seizing the bull by the horns and then shoving those horns down its throat. Across nearly all world cultures, historians tend to have a single story to tell about women who ascend to positions of power.
You can decide for yourself how well the historical caricature of a conniving seductress taking names and cutting throats aligns with the following characterization (from Wikipedia) of Wu's imperial tenure: "Under her 40-year reign, China grew larger, becoming one of the great powers of the world, its culture and economy were revitalized, and corruption in the court was reduced." Truly a monstrous résumé.
More than 1,300 years later, woman world leaders generally get considerably more credit, along with notably less slanderous calumny, for their accomplishments. There's still an idea hanging around, however, that it's OK for women to be viewed differently than men, perhaps nowhere more so than in the modern workforce. It's still a relatively recent development that woman have been deemed to be on equal footing with men when it comes to hiring for most jobs.
More to the point, however, women are generally still paid less than men for comparable work done under comparable conditions. The persistent pay gap between men and women is as deeply embedded in the IT industry as anywhere else. Past Salary Surveys have shown, and our newest data confirms, that male workers are, at least monetarily, substantially more valued then their female counterparts. Men get higher IT salaries than women.
Among the 76.7 percent of U.S. survey respondents who are men and employed full-time, the average annual salary in 2021 was $110,800. For women employed full-time, who accounted for 20.1 percent of all U.S. responses, the comparable figure is $96,960. Among certified IT professionals in the United States then, full-time female workers on average earned roughly 12 percent less than their male counterparts.
(Not considered in these calculations are the 0.6 percent of U.S. respondents employed full-time who identify as either transgender male, transgender female, or gender variant/nonconforming. Also omitted: the 2.6 percent of U.S. respondents employed full-time who chose not to identify their gender.)
The income inequality is even more stark outside the United States, where female certified IT professionals who are employed full-time earned, on average, an eye-opening 23 percent less than men in 2021. The 86 percent of non-U.S. survey respondents who are men and employed full-time had an average annual salary of $77,450 last year, compared to a notable lesser $59,480 for the 10.7 percent of non-U.S. respondents who are women.
(Not considered in these calculations are the 0.8 percent of non-U.S. respondents employed full-time who identify as either transgender male, transgender female, or gender variant/nonconforming. Also omitted: the 2.5 percent of non-U.S. respondents employed full-time who chose not to identify their gender.)
We also looked at the gender income gap generationally. Are men and women unequally compensated across the generational spectrum? We divided workers into three groups by age, looking at the young (age 34 and younger), the middle-aged (between the ages of 35 and 54), and the pre-retirement crowd (age 55 and older). Here’s what we found:
ALL U.S. WORKERS
In the United States, there’s unequal pay for men and women across all three generation of workers, but women actually have the upper hand, if only modestly, among the youngest cohort of certified IT professionals. Among older workers, men are still taking home notable larger paychecks. The disparity is smaller— about 8 percent — among workers between the ages of 35 and 54, while men have a wider advantage (roughly 10 percent) among the pre-retirement generation.
ALL NON-U.S. WORKERS
Interestingly, it's women who have the upper hand across all three generations of workers outside the United States. When we compared all of the men to all of the women, men had a considerable edge. When non-U.S. certified IT professionals are segmented by age, however, women are doing slightly better than men both among workers between the ages of 35 and 54 and among workers 55 and older. Among the rising generation, workers age 34 and younger, women are outearning men by almost 9 percent.