Engineering Pay Gap? Glassdoor Reveals Many Women Engineers Earn Less than Men

Engineering Pay Gap? Glassdoor Reveals Many Women Engineers Earn Less than Men

Many women engineers1 earn less than their male counterparts and the pay gap widens as years of experience increases, according to a recent analysis of more than 4,700 salary reports submitted anonymously on Glassdoor.com by people in the engineering field, of which 70% are male and 30% are female.  The analysis revealed that women engineers earn 96.7% of what men earn early in their careers (0-3 years experience), and earn 89.1% of what their male counterparts earn when both genders have more than 10 years experience.  This means that the average compensation for a male engineer with less than three years of experience is $70,533 while women with the same experience earn less ($68,237). For those with 10 or more years, men make an average of $111,877 while women typically make $99,733.  That can easily equate to hundreds of thousands  of dollars throughout a career.

Bonus Gap is Bigger

The analysis also broke out bonuses from total pay and discovered that the gap is wider for bonus pay outs. The most significant gap is seen for those with between four to six years of experience when women’s bonuses are almost half (51.41%) of their male counterparts and for those with more than 10 years of experience when women typically make 57.62% of the bonuses paid to men.

Gender Bonus Gap in Engineering (Female Bonus as a % of Male)

The Glassdoor results seem to confirm the 2007 Behind the Pay Gap study by the AAUW that also found a pay gap that starts at the entry level and expands as the careers progress.  As the AAUW reports  women, one year after having graduated college,  earn 80 percent as much as their male counterparts but after 10 years of experience, women earn 69 percent when compared to males with the same amount of experience. The AAUW figures looks at a cross section of industries where career choice may influence pay whereas Glassdoor has isolated engineering jobs specifically.

Location plays a part in engineering pay inequities

The AAUW also reported variances in gender pay when looked at by location.  Based on Glassdoor data, the average pay gap for women engineers also varies by metropolitan area:

Glassdoor Report: Gender pay gap in top 5 cities with the most female engineers
City Male Engineer Annual Pay Female Engineer Annual Pay Female Pay as % of Male
1 New York $103,398 $95,881 92.7%
2 San Diego $96,569 $85,030 88.1%
3 San Jose $118,040 $102,799 86.9%
4 Austin $95,287 $82,800 86.9%
5 Seattle $102,566 $79,596 77.6%

When looking at the top 5 cities with the most female engineers, we found that female engineers fared best in New York, where they earned on average 92.7% of their male counterparts.  The largest pay gap was seen in Seattle where female engineers typically earn just 77.6% of their male counterparts.

Employers with high percentage of female engineers

The analysis also looked at which companies represented on Glassdoor.com employ the highest percentage of female engineers, which is not a number typically reported on company career websites.   We found familiar names such as Northrop Grumman , Dell, GE Healthcare, Apple had the highest reported % of female engineer salaries on Glassdoor.

Employers with the highest % of female engineers

Closing the Gap – Everyone can Help

While this analysis doesn’t give us insight into other factors that could be at play within companies and markets that might account for the gap, it does raise important issues and questions that women engineers can use to have conversations with their supervisors and human resource representatives.  This type of disparity is why transparency around compensation is so vital, especially in light of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed by President Obama on January 29, 2009.  The Ledbetter Act only gives remedy to discovered acts of inequity. The challenge, of course, is first being able to determine whether or not inequity exists.  This is extremely difficult today and why contributing anonymously on Glassdoor can help bring gaps to light and ensure pay – if all things (education, experience, performance) are equal — is more equitable around the globe.  Stay tuned for tips from Glassdoor.com career expert and former HR executive on how to raise inequity concerns.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from male and female engineers and managers –or any professional — about whether you think gender pay gaps exist in your organization.

1Engineers include a variety of different jobs working in the field of engineering, including software engineers,  hardware engineers, engineering managers, etc.

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