How The Tech Industry Can Lead the Way in Creating Equal Compensation


Despite being one of the highest-paying industries in the world, the technology field has a gender pay gap problem. In this piece, Tanya Jansen explores how the tech industry can lead the way in creating equal compensation, writes 

Tanya Jansen, co-founder of beqom.

Despite being one of the highest-paying industries in the world, the technology field has a gender pay gap problem. In fact, a recent reportOpens a new window by Comparably found, men are paid up to $16,000 more than women with the same title. Additionally, 21% of enterprise technology employees believe their place of work has issues with equal pay.

In the last few years, well-known technology companies have brought attention to the pay gap plaguing the industry. Adobe committed to closing the gap by paying women $1.00 for every $1.00 earned by a male employee in the U.S. McAfee announced that it achieved global gender pay parity earlier this year after it conducted an audit of its operations in 45 countries and across more than 7,000 employees. While these companies and others have addressed the pay gap at their organizations, there is still room for improvement within the technology industry to set a higher standard in compensation.

Compensation is a point of contention for employees in every field; more than a third (37%) say they would seek a job at a company that disclosed a lower gender pay gap than their current employer. Job openings currently outnumber job seekers, challenging companies to create a competitive differentiator to secure the right candidates. As 40% of technology workers believe the gender pay gap at their place of work has increased in the past 12-18 months, and frills like free artisanal coffee and meditation rooms no longer convince candidates to accept a position, fair compensation can be a key differentiator.

As innovators in workplace culture and trendsetters in business, technology companies are well-positioned to lead efforts in closing the pay gap. To become a leader in equal pay, technology companies should focus on two areas: implementing automated compensation solutions and emphasizing transparent pay practices.

Implement Technology as a Compensation Standard

Technology industry leaders looking to upend compensation management in their organizations should consider implementing total compensation systems to design competitive and fair pay packages. This technology takes the guesswork and emotion out of compensation management to create a pay structure free of unconscious bias. Additionally, it ensures compensation methods are compliant with ever-evolving state and national regulations and up-to-date with industry standards. For example, many states have implemented regulations prohibiting employers from asking salary history questions to job applicants. Compensation technology can help businesses create compensation structures based on more relevant factors than the previous salary.

Although salary is one area to focus on when evaluating compensation, it’s not the only important factor. Nearly a third (29%) of technology workers believe a lack of benefits is the biggest workplace issue at their current job. By implementing total compensation technology, employers can fairly personalize benefits to incentivize employees. Additionally, employers can leverage total compensation technology to identify employees whom they may consider to be a “flight risk” and create personalized plans to retain and encourage talent. For example, if an employee has been missing work ahead of a big project deadline, guaranteeing a bonus once the project is delivered may motivate and provide an incentive worth staying for.

Use Transparency to Drive Change

Technology employees do not believe that closing the gender pay gap is high on their employers’ priority list. In fact, 21% of technology workers believe their employer is not taking steps or actions to close or prevent gender pay gaps, and the same number (21%) believe their employer does not take closing the gender pay gap seriously. This proves the need for additional transparency in communication around compensation.

Nearly half (46%) of workers would share their salary with colleagues, creating an open and transparent discussion around compensation. But problems arise when employers are left out of these conversations, which can result in rumors or hearsay since salary does not show the complete compensation picture. Instead, employers should consider providing dynamic total reward statements measuring employees’ entire compensation packages, including base salary, bonuses, benefits, and perks. Employees can compare these statements to industry benchmarks to provide additional insight into their compensation packages and better understand their value to the organization.

Learn More: The Gender Pay Gap Is About More Than Compensation: What Google and Others Should KnowOpens a new window

Creating Change in Industries Beyond Technology 

Technology companies have an opportunity to set a higher standard for fair compensation. The industry’s forward-thinking approaches to solving workplace problems, such as streamlining remote working communication, show its ability to disrupt age-old processes. Intel broke barriers in compensation standards as one of the first companies in the U.S. to announce it would voluntarily release pay data broken down by gender and ethnicity. Through this move, Intel set a high standard in pay reporting for all employers and employees. Given 63% of employeesOpens a new window would be more willing to work at a company that discloses its gender pay gap figures each year, other organizations looking to stay competitive in recruitment and retention should consider adopting transparent compensation policies.

Disclosing pay gaps and publicizing efforts to create equal pay are key to guiding other industries in the right direction. As more organizations commit to fair and equal pay, those that fall behind will begin to feel pressure from employees and will lose top talent and prospective candidates who instead accept jobs with organizations committed to equal pay. 

Changing the gender pay gap will not happen instantly, and it’s not up to one company — or even one industry — to make the change; however, some technology companies have begun to take the lead, and it’s my hope that others follow. It’s a gradual process, but the more that companies across all industries begin to close the pay gap, the closer we’ll get to gender equality.

Learn More: Compensation Trends Companies Must IncorporateOpens a new window