Hello everyone and welcome back to the Cognixia podcast. Every week we gather here to discuss something new in the field of emerging digital technologies hoping to inspire our listeners to learn something new and keep advancing in their careers by upgrading & updating their skills from time to time.
Before we begin today’s episode, we would like to mention that we had an amazing five-part series on ChatGPT and a bonus episode on GPT-4 on our podcast. If you have not checked out all the episodes in the series so far, we strongly recommend you do, it is totally worth a listen. In the series, we talk about what ChatGPT cannot do, what you need to be careful about when using ChatGPT, will ChatGPT take away your job, what GPT-4 is, etc. and we assure you it is a very exciting series of episodes, so take some time to check it out, we would love to know your thoughts and feedback on it too.
Coming to today’s episode. Last month was Women’s History Month, so you would have seen a lot of women-centric programs, studies, initiatives, and so much more in the news or everywhere you look. Everything turned purple or pink – from company logos and social media thumbnails to store decorations. It was that time of the year. Since the month is over, most of all are now old news, and the world has moved on. But what has not moved much is the number of women in tech, and the challenges they face.
As of 2022, women earn, on average, about 82% of what men earn which is only a 2% increase from 2002, according to Pew Research. Women are highly underrepresented in STEM fields, even more so in managerial roles, making up only 27% of the workforce in those industries, combined, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This trend is not limited to women in tech. It is a fact that women are increasingly and deeply underrepresented in higher-paying positions. Pull up the median pay data for any industry, not just tech, and the problem becomes quite clear. Studies have also found that companies which disclose the pay gaps are more likely to fix them compared to those that do not.
According to a 2021 survey by Hired, men in tech were offered higher salaries than women for the same job title 59% of the time. On average, women in tech were offered salaries 2.5% less than the ones that men were given for the same roles. Women also suffered a greater job loss compared to men during the pandemic. Reports say that about five million women have lost their jobs since February 2020. A slight ray of hope comes from a 2021 survey by MetLife which found that of the women who were considering coming back to the workforce post-pandemic, 8 in 10 said that they would like to change their careers and pursue something in STEM now.
Women entered the workforce in significant numbers post World War II and since then there has always been a difference in earnings & wages of women vs men. According to the World Economic Forum, it would take a whopping 268 years to close the economic gender gap! 268. That is almost three centuries. World War II ended in 1945, just 78 years ago. That is how dire the situation is.
In an ideal world, there should be no pay gap at all, not based on gender or any other basis. If two people are doing the same work, and have similar education, experience, performance, and tenure, then gender, race, caste, class, etc. should not matter at all and they should be getting the same pay. But this is not an ideal world and the gender pay gap is alarmingly huge with no signs of going away anytime soon.
In recent times, there has been a lot of research talking about diversity on work teams and boards which leads to more honest and transparent business operations, more accountability, and a more solid bottom line. These research studies help but it would not be an understatement to say that there is still a very long way to go. For instance, take the Equitable Performance-based Integrity Compensation Model or the EPIC Model as it is commonly called. While discussing this model, Gartner, the renowned research firm has reported that the profits and share performance turn out to be about 50% higher when women are well-represented at the top. Gartner also reports that when women make up at least 30% of the C-suite, it would add roughly 6% to the net margins.
Studies are increasingly finding that organizations that have a larger women workforce tend to be more innovative and productive and have greater profits & revenue.
Did you know that faced with allegations of systemic compensation & hiring discrimination at its California and Washington facilities, Google LLC had once settled with the US Department of Labor and had agreed to pay more than $3.8 million to more than 5,500 current employees and job applicants.
Where did this gender pay gap start? Experts share that this is a result of long-standing issues with deep societal roots which have contributed to and still drive the gender pay gap, not just in tech but everywhere. There is also the case of the straight-out bias. Researchers have also opined that the old-fashioned belief that men need to be paid more because they are the breadwinners still holds strong in many organizations and decision-makers, while women are still considered to be secondary or not so important when it comes to the wages. Women often need more qualifications and need to work harder to land and work on the same role as a man. This is why women often get hired and remain stuck in much junior roles than men. Add to this, the pressures of juggling the roles women play outside work managing the household chores, taking care of the family, and a lot of other unpaid work, being a full-time working woman in tech is no piece of cake. Employers are also skeptical to employ women, the common issues being say, having to give out paid maternity leaves, the impression that women will take more leaves or not be serious about their work, or them being weaker and inadequate, etc.
There are also representational issues, which researchers say, has an enormous impact on the paychecks women receive. Women in tech have extremely low representation, which only gets lower as we move up the ladder. This, in turn, pushes average and median salaries for women in tech way below that of men, who are well-represented at all tiers. On the other side, women also negotiate less, and when they do, they are hardly ever as aggressive as men are when negotiating the salaries. Put it all together, and it creates a multiplier effect which collectively pushes salaries down for all women. Studies have also found that women switch jobs way less frequently than men do, and we know that salaries increase greatly when you switch jobs compared to when you stick to one job for long durations. This is a paradox of a unique kind because women in the workforce would be quite stable and dependable, they will not switch jobs. Women also usually do not apply for jobs until they feel they meet all the laid-out requirements and criteria, while men will not be that particular about it and would apply anyway. This also restricts the movement of women workforce in tech.
There are a lot of things that need to be done to change this, and there is a very long way to go. But the change must start now, and it must be everywhere. A good starting point is working with tighter salary ranges and making diversity and inclusion a part of the organization culture. Another especially important measure would be to solve the representation problem, have more women at all tiers in the organization, more the representation, lesser the issues and challenges. The more women see in the leadership positions, the more women will be inspired to grow themselves. Recognize the value of the individual, not by their gender or any other attribute but just the value they bring.
There are a lot of arguments that can be made, and gender pay equity is an urgent requirement for everyone. So, let us all do our bit to support and encourage everybody around us, and grow together? In this regard, Cognixia offers fantastic promotions and discounts to everyone irrespective of their gender, giving everyone a uniform opportunity to gain experience, new skills and grow in their careers. So, check out our live online instructor-led courses at www.cognixia.com and enroll for your chosen course now!
With that, we come to the end of this week’s episode. Hope you enjoyed listening to it. And once again, if you have not checked out our five-part series on ChatGPT and our bonus episode on GPT-4, what are you waiting for?
Until next week then, happy learning!