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Can recruiters help close the gender pay gap in tech?

Tech recruiters have the power to help close tech’s gender pay gap.
Tech boasts some of the highest salaries in the UK, but why are women struggling to financially benefit in the UK’s fastest growing and most lucrative industry?
Tech Nation claims the average salary advertised for digital roles in the UK is just under £50,000, which is 36% higher than the national average. 
This sounds like good news, but when looking at individual company statistics it becomes clear there is a long way to go before women reap the benefits. PwC’s latest Women in Tech report showed Google’s gender pay gap rose from 16% in 2018 to 20% in 2019, while Amazon’s largest UK venture, Amazon UK Services, reported a 0% gender pay gap in 2018 and 2019, meaning they achieved complete income parity two years in a row. 
Gender pay gap stats blog
In the Scottish tech industry the gender pay gap remains vast despite significant industry growth. Digit’s recent report shows that Scottish women are more likely to accept salaries almost £20,000 lower than those of their male counterparts. These findings aren’t unique to Scotland with stark regional differences in the UK, as Digit highlighted last month.
Industry experts and critics alike cite a multitude of factors to account for the gender pay gap, including unconscious bias, a lack of transparency around salaries, and poor education around career opportunities for women in tech.
While gender parity is on the rise there is still a lot of work to do to create an equal and inclusive tech industry. Bright Purple is particularly interested in how recruiters can help tackle the gender pay gap, so let’s dive in.

What is the gender pay gap and how does it affect the tech industry?

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the overall gender pay gap for all employees in the UK stood at 15.5% in 2020, down from 17.4% in 2019. While the gender pay gap for all full time employees fell from 9% in April 2019 to 7.4% in April 2020. While these statistics sound promising, even a gender pay gap of 15% equates to women doing two months of unpaid work every year.
Since 2017, the UK government has required organisations of over 250 employees to report their gender pay gap statistics to the gender pay gap service. This move towards salary transparency has been widely criticised for its skewed statistics by the Financial Times, London School of Economics and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). However, even these small steps towards transparency could help in the fight for income parity.
Gender pay gap Bright PUrple quote
However, numbers provided by Haystack show these measures are insufficient and more needs to be done to address the rapidly widening pay gap in tech. According to the same study of 1010 Haystack users in tech, Scottish women in the industry expect a minimum salary of £22,000 while their male counterparts had a minimum expectation of £40,714, marking a stark difference in how tech professionals are valued and how they value themselves. Scotland currently has the biggest tech gender pay gap in the UK with almost a £20,000 difference between male and female participants.
These conditions are exacerbated by a lack of salary transparency in the tech industry. Roles are still being advertised as having a competitive salary leaving many at a disadvantage, but women are some of the most hampered workers as they are more likely to undervalue themselves in the first place. 
Studies have also shown women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary and more likely to quickly accept a job offer, especially where that job meets their minimum salary expectations.
Haystack have also found there are also massive pay gaps between different regions in the UK. Future Scot reported the ‘average expected salary by tech talent in Scotland is £39,013. This compares to £45,624 in London, £44,440 in South East England and £40,000 in East of England.’ While tech professionals in Northern Ireland generally expect a minimum salary of £28,231. 
Future Scot have also suggested that ‘tech professionals in the UK are underestimating their worth nearly £10,000 less than the average salary on offer for their role.’ This is where recruiters may be able to aid candidates the most, educating candidates about their worth and industry standards.

How are recruiters helping to close the gender pay gap in tech? 

Recruiters are arguably in one of the best positions to help fight the gender pay gap with direct access to job requirements, salary information and benefits packages. These industry experts have insights that are otherwise unavailable to most tech professionals.
FutureScot Gender Pay gap quote Bright Purple
Here at Bright Purple our team has offered a look into their processes and how we’re making a difference for employers and prospective employees. CEO Nick Price said:
"While some clients may request to leave salary information out of an advertisement, Bright Purple encourages salary transparency, and that begins in-house with full transparency for all internal hires. The Bright Purple team believes salary transparency allows candidates to better manage their expectations, and streamlines the recruitment process by cutting down on wasted time.
Our team is well aware of current industry trends and regardless of gender they will advise candidates on their industry value. We are fully onboard with salary negotiations, and work to balance candidate expectations and value while also advising clients on market trends and expectations. This allows us to ensure that candidates secure the best possible package which is reflective of the market and caters to both client and candidate needs. 
Bright Purple don't conduct benchmarking across our clients, however, with access to salary information across all of our current roles, our recruitment team are quick to flag gender pay gaps and consult with our clients."

Gender pay gap salary discrepancy Bright Purple

"We are also aware of the ongoing diversity crisis and skills gap in tech which presents more drawbacks for candidates. While the number of women in tech is increasing, there is unfortunately an experience gap between male and female candidates. This continues to influence the pay gap as women are usually in the early stages of their career. However, when recruiting for senior roles our team has noticed little to no discrepancy between salary expectations based on gender."
Bright Purple believes there is still more to be done to close the gender pay gap in tech. Our team is dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive industry. We will continue to work closely with clients and candidates to find the best solutions possible and encourage more people to enter the industry.

How does closing the gender pay gap benefit the tech industry?

Closing the gender pay gap in tech creates a more diverse atmosphere and allows our industry to grow. This in turn will help to close the skills gap the UK tech sector is currently facing by adding a plethora of new voices who bring unique perspectives and solutions to the table.
Normalising practices such as salary transparency shows young women and girls what they are worth and that tech offers a viable career path. Encouraging young women and girls to pursue careers in tech not only requires educating them about their worth, but also what their career paths can look like and also how tech can provide a more equal future for all. 
Closing the gender pay gap in tech is only one step towards improving the industry. We need to provide more education for young women and girls, and we need to continue to platform diverse voices.
Centering successful female talent in the tech industry and openly celebrating their contributions and achievements will also inspire future generations of female tech professionals. It is time for all tech leaders to start showing prospective tech talent that the future belongs to them too. 
For more of Bright Purple’s thoughts on diversity in the workplace, take a look at our latest blog on flexible work practices and how they make tech more accessible.


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