Tech’s gender pay gap begins to return to pre-pandemic levels

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The pandemic has eased some of the pay gaps that exist in the UK’s technology sector, including those between men and women, and the north and the south

Clare McDonald


Published: 21 Apr 2023 14:11

The gap between what men and women in the technology sector are paid has lessened in the past year, according to research by Integro Accounting.

Looking at PAYE records for thousands of IT professionals, the contractor accountancy service found women in the technology sector were paid 8.2% less than their male counterparts, a drop from 12.9% in 2021.

“The tech sector has historically had a stubbornly wide gender pay gap, but is now leading the way in adopting flexible working, and is successfully driving its gender pay gap below the national average,” said Christian Hickmott, managing director of Integro Accounting.

Many believe one of the reasons the gender pay gap exists in technology is because career gaps stop women from advancing to higher-earning C-level positions, a disparity that was exacerbated during the pandemic.

More than half of women in tech who take a career break choose not to return to the industry at all, making retention another important factor in closing the gender pay gap in tech, as well as increasing the number of women in tech in general. Hickmott pointed out the increase in flexible working could be contributing towards more positive gender pay gap numbers as people are more able to achieve work-life balance.

The past few years have seen ups and downs when it comes to the narrowing of the gender pay gap in tech. Integro Accounting found the gender pay gap was 12.4% in 2018, before dropping to 7.6% in 2019.

But the pandemic saw the gender pay gap jump up again in 2020, to 10.9%, with the pandemic shining a light on some of the disparities between working men and women.

Integro Accounting found the median annual salary for women in tech is £42,068, almost £4,000 less than the £45,826 of their male counterparts.

But the narrowing difference in pay between men and women is not the only pay gap that has narrowed in recent years.

While tech job adverts have been on the rise in the UK over the past year, there has always been a divide between the north and south in terms of how many tech roles are on offer and what talent will be paid.

Over the past three years, the pay gap between tech workers in the north and south of England has dropped by 4% – from 13% in 2019 to 9% last year.

This means IT employees in the north of the country make 91% of the amount their southern counterparts do – the median annual salary for a tech worker in the north is £43,135, while the median salary for those in the south is £47,433.

This can be partly attributed to the changing ways of work as a result of the pandemic, as many people now work more flexibly, removing the need for workers to reside near a central office location.

“Access to the London market and to the highest paying jobs has always been geographically constrained,” said Hickmott. “With a growing proportion of tech roles no longer requiring attendance in the office five days a week, it has become much easier for top talent to compete for the highest paying jobs nationally.”

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