Tech Industry Severely Underpays Minority Workers, Study Shows

Tech Industry Severely Underpays Minority Workers, Study Shows

A study from the American Institute for Economic Research shows that minorities and women tech workers earn thousands less than their white male co-workers each year.

Published October 10, 2014

Silicon Valley’s diversity problem has been covered extensively, causing a handful of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple to disclose their dismal workplace demographics in reports.

However, what these major tech companies have failed to do is address the wage inequality that comes with the industry’s race and gender gaps.

A recent study from the American Institute for Economic Research revealed that the tech industry has been systematically underpaying non-white, non-male workers, regardless of education, age, region, occupation, citizenship status and country of birth.

This discrepancy costs minority workers thousands of dollars per year:

In the computer technology industry, on average, a Hispanic worker in this group of six occupations earns $16,353 less than a non-Hispanic worker. This is a larger differential in earnings than racial groups of color, such as Blacks (whose earnings are expected to be $3,656 less than white workers), Asians (whose earnings are expected to be $8,146 less than white workers), and workers who identified “other” as their race ($6,907 less than whites).

Freada Kapor Klein, co-chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, told USA Today that “unconscious bias” is to blame.

"At every point in the hiring process hidden bias trickles in," Klein said. "A drop at the stage of reviewing names on résumés, a few more drops at the stage of different gender and race styles of presentation during interviews and a steadier stream when it comes to who is expected to negotiate their salary and who isn't.”

Women in tech also experience severe wage discrimination, the study reports. Its findings show that women tech workers earn $6,358 less than their male counterparts, while "women with at least one child earn $11,247 less than everyone else.”

"It's a question of value and seeing value in these populations,” Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and CEO of tech non-profit Code2040, told USA Today. "And when it comes to hiring and paying people, value translates into dollars.”

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(Photo: Karen Kasmauski/Corbis)

Written by Patrice Peck

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