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IT bucks gender pay gap trend with female CIOs paid more than male

New research has revealed that female CIOs are paid slightly more than male on average, in stark contrast to the lead roles in other industries.

All organisations and charities employing more than 250 people must submit pay gap statistics to the government by April under a scheme introduced this year. Just over 2,500 have submitted their figures so far, but the legislation will affect in the region of 9,000 organisations, which collectively employ over 15 million staff.

Most reports filed so far have revealed a stark gender pay gap, especially in financial services, with men paid 55.5 per cent more than women on average at Goldman Sachs. The situation is even worse at HSBC, with a 60 per cent gap.

However, research conducted by recruitment firm Harvey Nash has shown that female CIOs receive an annual average wage of $190,255.91, compared to $186,591.00 for male CIOs.

Senior roles in IT Project and Programme Management also showed females receiving better remuneration, with men paid an average of $103,433.33, and women $105,227.27 for Programme Management, and male Project Managers receiving $78,722.22 on average, compared with $87,722.22 for females.

Robert Grimsey, director at Harvey Nash said: “Whilst the difference itself may not be that great, what is clear is that the sector is clearly valuing the skills of women at the top most level in these business-facing roles. This of course compares very favourably to other sectors, like broadcasting or acting, which have made the news recently for all the wrong reasons.”

However, the pay gap favours men by a wider margin in some other roles. In particular, the CTO role appears to show a male bias, with men receiving an average of $180,762.21, and women $157,999.50.

“This may be because compared to CIO roles there is less of a tradition of women entering these top technical roles, and the ones that are – the trailblazers – are entering the role perhaps for the first time, and possibly in smaller companies,” said Grimsey.

The worst offending role was Quality Assurance, with men paid $102,911.76 on average, compared with an average pay of $56,833.33 for women.

Whilst there is still an industry-wide problem with insufficient numbers of women studying IT at secondary or tertiary level, or entering the industry, Grimsey pointed to the fact that a reasonable proportion make it all the way to the top.

“One thing that’s worth highlighting is that when women enter the sector there is strong evidence they progress very well: broadly one in ten people who enter the tech profession are women, a similar proportion to how many women make it to the most senior tech jobs, such as CIO and programme management. Compare this to HR, where at entry level two-thirds are women, but this translates to only one third at senior level.

“In short, the women who enter IT enjoy it, and move on quickly. The problem is that not enough women are entering IT in the first place, and it’s all of our jobs to broadcast the message: There is no better sector to be for pay, progression, creativity and making a difference!”

The research cited above was global, however just under 60 per cent of the data came from UK Ireland.

Computing has launched the Women in IT Excellence Awards in order to promote and champion the idea of a career in IT to women. You can enter yourself, or nominate a colleague here.

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