How to close the gender pay gap in the technology sector

Picture23012024 - Global Banking | FinanceBy Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer, at FDM Group

It’s no secret that there is a gender pay gap in tech, and it’s higher than the national average and across other industries at 16%.

International Women’s Day is a timely reminder that the technology industry must reflect on how they can contribute to closing the gender pay gap in tech.

Tech organisations and government bodies must understand and commit to breaking down barriers that push the gender pay gap in tech further apart to reach a fair and equal workplace.

Recognising the pre-existing barriers

A significant barrier to closing the pay gap is a pre-existing gender bias in the workplace. Recent government findings have suggested that women’s progression in their careers is often held back by bias surrounding pay and promotions.

Government research found that there are often tensions surrounding women balancing their work and family life. This can translate to employers failing to encourage female employees to thrive personally and professionally due to a lack of support from businesses.

Tech businesses must recognise these biases as reasons challenging fair and equal pay between male and female workers.

A proactive approach where policies are reviewed and updated regularly will help shift this unconscious gender bias and encourage fair standards across the board.

The importance of role models

As part of solving the gender pay gap, role models have a key part to play in guiding women through their careers.

Role models in tech act as catalysts to inspire change and shape a new generation of tech innovators. Women in tech must take a seat at the table and demonstrate that advocating and mentoring can help the next generation feel inspired to reach similar achievements.

Female role models in tech often use their platform to advocate for equal pay, raising awareness and speaking out about the gender pay disparities within the industry.

This can spark other women in the industry to challenge barriers in their workplace and encourage them to promote equal pay.

Promoting flexible working policies

Tech organisations implementing flexible working policies ultimately create an inclusive workplace that contributes towards closing the gender pay gap.

Reports show that a fifth of women say that flexibility has helped them remain in their careers, therefore flexible policies like ‘work-from-anywhere’ allow women to prioritise family responsibilities while simultaneously performing at work.

Tech companies who harness these policies push for an equal and fair working environment, edging closer to closing the gender pay gap in tech.

These policies will also attract and retain top talent, especially those returning to work after a career break.

Holding industry leaders and policymakers accountable

Holding industry leaders and policymakers accountable is essential in creating systematic change in the tech sector pay gap. Creating an environment that values and rewards workers based on skills and contributions rather than someone’s gender is something that those leading the industry need to harness.

Policymakers play a vital role in regulating and legislating company policies that address gender disparities. Holding them accountable will ensure that there is a legal framework in place to directly address what pushes the gender pay gap and what policies can help bridge the gap.

Industry leaders must see these initiatives as long-term commitments to foster an inclusive and fair working environment.

Publishing a gender pay gap report is essential

Businesses that have more than 250 employees are required by law to publish an annual gender pay gap report to encourage transparency and accountability within each organisation. The report allows employers to recognise gender pay disparities and address them head-on by implementing ways to promote gender equality.

The report acts as a legal reminder to encourage policy development and open up informed discussions in favour of closing the gender pay gap.

It’s important that when reporting for gender pay gap results, the data collection is accurate and accessible to all which will reach a wider audience and in turn enhance its engagement.

Many factors come into play when addressing the gender pay gap and how to close it, including policy changes, new initiatives, and a shift in mindset.