Although the wage gap in the tech industry is narrowing–somewhat– gender and race discrepancies persist when it comes to salary expectations and access to opportunity. A newly published study reveals the state the wage and expectation gap, and who is making strides and who is still largely left behind.

As workers feel more empowered to prioritize their well-being and voice the need to feel valued and supported in the workplace, companies increasingly pledge commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace. Yet gender and race discrepancies persist when it comes to salaries and access to opportunity, especially in the tech industry, according to a new report from Hired.

Particularly as organizations juggle the impacts of both the pandemic and the Great Resignation, employers are facing high competition for retaining and recruiting staff. It benefits organizations to identify and attract a broader pool of talent, to make representation a diversity imperative, in order to drive business forward.

Now in its sixth edition, the State of Wage Inequality in the Tech Industry: Hired's 2022 Impact Report analyzes wage and expectation gaps in salary data across gender, race, age and sexuality in the tech industry, and is based on the findings from data collected between January 2018 and December 2021. This includes over 819,000 interview requests and job offers facilitated through Hired's marketplace from over 3,900 participating companies and more than 120,000 jobseekers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

And according to Hired CEO Josh Brenner, there are reasons to be optimistic although “access to opportunity remains a challenge.” Here’s how things look in terms of progress in the areas of the wage gap, access to opportunity, and the expectation gap—how much candidates of different genders and race even anticipate they might earn.

The wage gap

Hired data shows some progress in terms of reduction in the salary gap between white and non-white candidates when looking only at race. In 2021, the gap not only closed for Asian candidates, but Asians, on average, began to out-earn their white counterparts (although they also receive fewer invitations to interviews). For Black candidates, this was not the case: The research found their wages were 1.8 percent lower than that of their white candidates in 2021. For Hispanic candidates, this was .4 percent.

And women in tech, regardless of race, earn less than their male counterparts. When looking at the wage gap from both a race and gender perspective, the data show it is narrowing in general, but not substantially and not across the board. Black women, according to the study, experienced no change in wage gap at all in 2021, and in fact saw it widened to $0.92 for every $1 a White man earns in 2021 from $0.94 a year earlier.

Gap in access to opportunity

More than just differences in salaries offered, race and gender play a big role in who is even granted to opportunity to interview. Also in this area, the report shows some improvement: According to Hired, interview requests to only white jobseekers (23.2% to 14.8%) or only white and Asian jobseekers decreased from 2020 to 2021 (61.4% to 49.0%).

The report shows that hiring managers are more likely now to include at least one woman in their interview process than in previous years. In 2020, the report further finds, 42.4% of positions sent interview requests only to male candidates. In 2021, that was only 36.7%. While this is progress, it still means nearly 40% of roles are not requesting interviews with female candidates at all.

The expectation gap

Another important element in the state of the wage gap is the expectation gap, also called the ‘ask gap’: this refers to what a candidate hopes to earn, as indicated by the salary expectation provided to hiring managers. Hired data continues to show groups who are paid less also expect and ask for lower salaries than their white, male counterparts regardless of any difference in experience and other qualification.

A gap here, according to the report, remains prevalent, and adds to the wage gap problem. Particularly in terms of race: Hispanic woman and Black women, for example, expect to earn $0.91 to every dollar paid to a white man.

The correlation between expectation and actual awarded salary was examined by chosen locations in the study, revealing that U.S. cities Austin, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. saw the greatest decreases in the expectation gap, while cities such as Chicago and San Francisco showed the narrowest. Remote workers also tend to expect (and receive) lower wages.

Going forward

The study reveals some advancement in tightening the wage gap, but also highlights there is much work yet to be done to achieve genuine diversity, equality and inclusiveness in the tech industry and the workplace as a whole. More opportunity through broadening the interview space to include candidates historically under-represented and offering wages that are equal across race, gender, and other factors–including sexual orientation, religion, location–is the only way forward for businesses to truly deliver on DEI promises but also to thrive.

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