Report: Among Tech Execs, Men Face Gender Wage Gap

While a gender wage gap may exist among technology workers, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction with certain positions, including executives, in 2006, according to an annual salary survey.

While a gender wage gap may be alive and kicking among technology workers, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction among executive-level IT professionals in 2006, according to the annual salary survey released on Jan. 24 by New York-based Dice, a career site for IT and engineering professionals.

The report also noted a continued occurrence of gender salary gap in technology, where women earned on average 9.7 percent less than men in 2006.

This has narrowed slightly from the year prior when the difference was 10.9 percent, and it beats the national average of 74.7 cents on the dollar among college educated women, according to Labor Department data.

The IT gender gap was largest among database administrators, at 15 percent.

But according to the report, female professionals actually surpass their male counterparts in salary among specific job titles. Help desk professionals, earned $40,937 on average, 4.8 percent more than men; technical writers at $73,816, made 2.5 percent more than men. IT executives (CEOs, CIOs, chief technology officers, vice presidents and directors) earned an average of $109,912, or 1.4 percent more than men.

Younger female employees posted smaller salary gaps than older female employees in 2006, according to the report.

Women age 18 to 24 earned nearly the same salary as men ($41,700 versus $41,722 respectively). Women age 25 to 29 earned 7.6 percent less than men ($55,480 versus $60,031 respectively), compared to gaps of at least 10 percent in all age groups over 30.

In areas such as medical/pharmaceutical and telecommunications professionals, the gender pay gap is 11.5 and 10 percent respectively, and is closer to the average.

Across the board, technology professionals raked in 5.2 percent more in 2006 than they did in 2005, according to the report, as average U.S. IT salaries increased to $73,308 in 2006 from $69,700 in 2005.

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IT professionals with specializations in ERP (enterprise resource planning) ($96,161), Sarbanes-Oxley compliance ($91,998) and CRM (customer relationship management) ($90,499) saw the greatest gains. Other skills more consistently in demand such as Oracle and Java/J2EE continued to command grand salaries ($84,692 and $82,851 respectively).

Among specific technology skills, Sybase paid top dollar for databases ($85,049) and SOAP led programming languages with an average salary of $89,243.

In what was seen as a result of a continued effort to lure younger recruits to technical fields and offset a looming talent gap, 2006 saw a solid rise in entry-level salaries. IT starting salaries outpaced the overall national average, increasing 13.1 percent to $42,414 in 2006, and salaries among workers with two years of technology experience saw a 13.8 percent gain, to $46,935.

Silicon Valley, as it has in previous years, offered the highest salaries for tech professionals in 2006, up 5.7 percent from 2005 to $90,310. Boston ($80,308), New York ($80,006) and Baltimore/Washington D.C. ($79,911), follow, though the survey also noted that specific West Coast metropolitan areas, such as San Diego, Seattle and Los Angeles had shown strong gains.

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