We can’t compare KVUE's results regarding compensation to the Elephant in the Valley survey, because Madansky said they didn’t ask about compensation. But you’ve probably read this headline countless times -- just phrased slightly differently: Women generally make less than their male peers.
A report from Glassdoor, a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies and management, found that the largest pay gap was between certain types of computer programmers. Men made nearly 30 percent more than women counterparts on average.
In 2015, men working full time across all industries typically were paid 20 percent more than women. In that same year, Texas ranked a little lower that the national average – the median annual earnings for a woman working full time was $36,934. That’s 21 percent lower than a man’s pay.
Now you’re probably wondering how these women in KVUE's survey know how their pay compares to that of their peers. After all, some of the women surveyed said this very thing – transparency of pay -- was a problem.
Well, the answer is simple.
“The truth of the matter is people always talk about their salaries and especially big companies can try to make a secret of things, but the truth of the matter is people talk,” Jean Anne Booth, the CEO of an early stage tech company called UnaliWear said. “You’re asking people to not be human. And we’re all human. Even if we’re nerds.”
The results of those conversations can be unpleasant.
“Not knowing what others make is a huge roadblock. Twice now through the grapevine I've finally found out that I was making far less and I had to go fight to be equal,” said a technical architect at a mid-sized company in Austin.
Some see the inequality because of their role with the company.
“I am in HR, I see everyone's compensation and know 100 percent that I am compensated less than my male peers and that most women in different departments are paid less than their male counterparts,” a woman at a mid-sized company said.
Jayne Frasure, a senior HR specialist at Austin HR – a firm that services small to mid-size businesses throughout Austin and Texas – said that pay inequity is wrong and outdated.
“It’s a very old fashioned trait that women have a man to back them up and the man brings home all the money so a woman is just supplementing the income. That is just more and more not the case,” Frasure said. “Women are independent and not getting married, or maybe the husband is staying home and taking care of the kids and things of that nature. So, equity in pay is absolutely required in our world today.”
She said it also makes for a negative work environment.
“The conversation of pay when it’s out there in the workplace and people are talking amongst themselves -- there does become friction when you see someone is making more money than you are and you’re in the same job,” Frasure said.
Through Women Who Code Austin, women network with other women who are trying to break into the tech industry or who are trying to further their careers in tech. At a meeting once, co-director Sara Ines Calderon said women revealed to each other how much they make.
“And as result of the discussion, several of us were able to get a raise because we realized we were under the market level,” she said.
Calderon said when these conversations start happening more regularly, women will be compensated more fairly.