Salary Survey Extra: Whose IT salaries are higher, men or women?
Posted on
March 11, 2021

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Do men or women earn more money in IT? Here's what the Salary Survey has to say about that.

Empress Catherine the Great of Russia was possibly the wealthiest woman in history. At the height of her power, Catherine controlled an amount of riches and resources roughly equivalent to, at the time, 5 percent of worldwide GDP. It's probably safe to say that there was not a single man in the Russian Empire of her day, or in the world at large, who had more money than Catherine.

Rather embarrassingly for humankind, it's still fairly rare for women to have or, more to the point for our purposes, to earn—more money than men. The bias has existed for as long as men and women have been able to seek identical employment on equal terms. Those conditions, again to the overall discredit of the species, haven't actually been available until more or less the past handful of decades.

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 approximately 86 percent of U.S. survey respondents who are men, the average annual salary in 2020 was $121,790. For women, who accounted for about 14 percent of all U.S. responses, the comparable figure is $111,140. Among certified IT professionals in the United States then, women on average earned roughly 9 percent less than men.

The income inequality is even more stark outside the United States, where female certified IT professionals earned, on average, about 22 percent less than men in 2020. The 93.5 percent of non-U.S. survey respondents who are men had an average annual salary of $73,260 last year, compared to just $57,760 for women.

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:


Age Average Annual Salary (Men) Percentage of all male respondents in this age bracket Average Annual Salary (Women) Percentage of all female respondents in this age bracket
34 and younger $98,940 14.4 percent $92,970 17.7 percent
35 to 54 $124,710 61.2 percent $116,490 54.7 percent
55 and older $127,920 24.4 percent $92,500 27.6 percent

2020 Salary Data

There's unequal pay for men and women across all three generation of workers, though the gap is notably larger among the oldest segment of workers. Men earn 6 percent more on average than women, both among workers 34 and younger and among workers between the ages of 35 and 54. The disparity doubles, it's at 12 percent, among workers age 55 and older.


Age Average Annual Salary (Men) Percentage of all male respondents in this age bracket Average Annual Salary (Women) Percentage of all female respondents in this age bracket
34 and younger $46,880 25.1 percent $33,220 45.6 percent
35 to 54 $81,520 66.4 percent $75,580 45.6 percent
55 and older $86,810 8.5 percent $84,820 8.8 percent

2020 Salary Data

Outside the United States, earnings for women are closest to those of men at the end of the career timeline, with bigger disparities among younger workers. Also of note here is that a much higher percentage of female respondents are in the youngest generation than is the case among men. Both inside the United States and around the globe, it would appear, male certified IT professionals are heavily concentrated in that middle generation, between the ages of 35 and 54.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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