In a new report from PayScale, lead economist Katie Bardaro stresses the need for an apples-to-apples comparison when equating the salaries of men and women.
The issue’s increasingly important as recent analysis of census and polling data from the Pew Research Center finds that 4 in 10 American households with children under age 18 have a woman as the sole or primary breadwinner.
Bardaro’s responding to a report from the National Partnership for Women and Families that finds that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
In doing so, she points to Seattle, a city with a heavy tech presence. Looking at all full-time jobs, women earn 69 cents on the dollar compared with salaries for men. But the male-dominated tech industry skews the numbers, Bardaro says.
“With issues like gender wage gap, we must look at a number of factors collectively, including job choice, industry, experience, and education to get the full picture for salaries between men and women, not just the average in the Seattle area,” says Bardaro.
For example, 90 percent of Seattle’s software development engineers are men, according to PayScale. Its data show the median pay for men in these jobs is $89,400, while women earn $79,000. However, Bardaro says, when you control for years of experience and job responsibilities, the wage gap for women decreases to 97 cents on the dollar for men.
That echoes a report from Dice that found the major difference was that women in tech – though paid largely equal salaries to men – are in lower-paying positions.
The wage gap grows, however, as women move up the ladder. A wage gap of 2 percent at the individual contributor level grows to nearly 9 percent at the executive level, PayScale reports.
It also challenges the notion that women are paid less because they aren’t assertive enough in salary negotiations or to ask for raises. It says 32 percent of women and 29 percent of men have asked for a raise during their career. Still, only 19 percent of women vs. 24 percent of men have asked for both a raise and a promotion.