Female software devs 'earn more than men until promotion', report finds

Career progression is stunted by slow wage growth compared with male colleagues

Three women at work

Women starting out their careers in software development are being offered slightly higher salaries than men, but experience far fewer pay rises when promoted, a report has found.

At the most junior level, women are earning 2,000 per year more than their male colleagues, 34,000 versus 32,000 per year. For women, this represents a starting salary that's 11% higher than it was four years ago, and 7% higher than their male colleagues.

It's the reverse for mid-ranking software developers, however. By the time they're promoted, often within three years, men are earning 2,500 more than women, averaging salaries of 51,500 and 48,000 respectively, according to London-based computer training school Makers.

This trend continues at senior level, with high-ranking male software developers earning 72,000, which is 10,000 more than their female counterparts.

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"Coding skills are highly sought after across the UK, as businesses become more entwined in the global digital economy," said Evgeny Shadchnev, Makers co-founder and CEO. "Employers are also looking for a talent pool that is reflective of the diversity of the customers they aim to serve.

"Male coders may still dominate the workforce, but a premium has been placed on also attracting more women to join the world's most exciting companies and to play a role in shaping a more inclusive digital economy.

"This helps to explain why our female engineers have been entering the workforce with higher salaries than male graduates."

These findings chime with research conducted in the last few years revealing a prominent gender pay gap in the tech industry.

Research from 2016, for example, showed that in the UK women in tech earn 9% less than men, which is equivalent to 5,000 per year. This, at the time, was also a wider pay gap than the US' 8% gap, Canada's 7% gap, and Australia's 5% gap.

Interestingly, Google's analysis of its gender pay gap found that attempts to rectify the discrepancy resulted in newly-hired male employees being paid less than women.

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Regardless, the trend across the industry shows that women's career progression and associated earning potential are relatively stunted when stacked up against their male colleagues.

Asked how women's salaries and career progression can gain parity, chair of Makers Claudia Harris told IT Pro that putting the right business practices in place is essential.

"They include strong HR processes and a relentless focus on the numbers to ensure that women and men are making good strides in their careers and are being paid equally - at all stages of their career journey.

"Sponsorship programmes whereby senior men and women can mentor and support female coders on their career path are also important. Unconscious bias training, with an explicit focus on gender parity and role models, are equally effective."

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