Men in IT earn a median of $82,370 a year compared to $72,035 for women, according to new data by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The wage gap is perhaps is the most disquieting finding in a study of 2014 data by the Bureau, which also found that IT workers are younger than those in other occupations, more likely to have an advanced degree and more often work from home.
Women comprise 25% of the IT workforce, which U.S. officials put at 4.6 million, a figure roughly in line with private estimates. In 1990, women constituted 31% of the IT workforce.
The Census Bureau also looked at the changes in IT occupations since 1970, the first year it started classifying IT jobs. That year, 450,000 people were identified as IT workers.
The list of computer occupations includes: computer and information research scientists; information security analysts; network architects; database administrators; web developers; programmers and developers; systems analysts; IT managers; and support specialists.
The Census Bureau didn't offer any theories about the wage gap highlighted in its data, but the raw numbers may not tell the real story, according to Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, an IT workforce research firm.
In terms of IT, women now have more management positions than at anytime in the past, said Janulaitis. Of the largest 1,000 corporations, more than 19% of the CIOs were women, according to his data.
In terms of the wage disparity, Janulaitis notes that the census bureau deals with averages. "Many of the entry-level positions in IT are taken up by women who are 're-entering' the IT labor force after they have started a family," said Janulaitis. "In our surveys and analysis of compensation, we find no correlation between gender and compensation. Rather, the contributor to compensation is length of time in a position or with a company."
Overall, IT work is one of the best paid occupations in the U.S. for both men and women. The largest wage gap was among database administrators, which also had the highest percentage of women; median earnings for male database admins were $86,855 compared with $56,890 for female database admins.
Other findings include:
- 18% of IT workers were Asian, compared to 6% of all workers;
- About 55% of all IT workers were between the ages of 25 and 44, compared with 43% of all workers. Web developers were the youngest overall, with 38% between the ages of 25 and 34 and 11% between 16 and 24;
- About 10% of IT workers work from home;
- 22% of IT workers had a master's degree or higher;
- Approximately 24% of all IT workers are foreign born, compared with 17% of the overall workforce. But among software developers, that figure is 39%. The occupation with the lowest number of foreign-born workers is information security analyst at 11%;
- The IT workforce totalled 781,000 by 1980. It jumped to 1.5 million in 1990 and more than doubled again, to 3.4 million, by 2000.