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Male coding salaries overtake female earnings, despite higher starting salaries for women

Analysis of starting salaries from coding academy Makers has found some firms are paying female junior developers more than their male counterparts, but the pay gap swings the other way for more senior positions

Many firms are starting female junior coders off on a higher salary than male coders at the same level, according to data from Makers Academy.

Since it began in 2012, Makers Academy has trained more than 1,800 software engineers, 35% of whom are women, and works with companies to place those with newly developed coding skills into relevant roles.

Data collected about the coding school’s alumni over the past six years reveals that when it comes to entry-level coding jobs, the academy’s female alumni are paid approximately £2,000 more than men – the average annual salary for female junior coders is £34,000, as opposed to £32,000 for men in the same position.

But men go on to earn more as their career progresses, flipping the gender pay gap back the other way.

While this is just a small sample of the technology industry as a whole, the fact that male coders still end up making more than female coders over time, despite women earning more from the outset, serves as an indicator that more needs to be done to focus on inclusion and diversity in firms to prevent these gender pay gaps from developing further down the line. 

Evgeny Shadchnev, co-founder and CEO of Makers Academy, claimed this early discrepancy may, in part, be a tactic to encourage more women into the industry. Firms are increasingly looking to diversify the talent coming into their businesses in a bid to properly reflect the customers their technology serves, which suggests a “premium” may be added to salaries to attract more diverse candidates.

But he made it clear this did not cater to gender equality laws, or help to create pay equality in the long term.

“We are proud to be in a position where we are successfully training the next generation of women developers and doing our part to close the gender divide in tech, but we need to do more to level the playing field and advance women to the top of the tech sector,” said Shadchnev.

“However, we also believe that gender equality in pay should begin upon graduation and that people should be able to progress in their careers and earn the same salary, regardless of gender, if they are doing the same job.”

Sliding pay scale

The average salary of Makers Academy’s female graduates has increased by 11% over the past four years, while the average starter salary for its male graduates has increased by 7%.

While female graduates of the Makers programme are paid more at a junior level, the data showed that by mid-level – around three years into their career – men have already overtaken women when it comes to average pay. At this stage, men are earning £51,500 on average, whereas women are earning £48,000.

“Women software engineers know what a great career this is. Now we also have proof that it is fairly remunerated – at least at the beginning”
Claudia Harris, Makers Academy

By senior level – or people who have been in the career for four years or longer – men earn around £10,000 more than women per year, with an average salary of £72,000.

Not only are there fewer women in the technology sector than men, there is also a significant gender pay gap between women and their male counterparts in the same roles.

While in the case of Maker’s research this may mean women are paid more early on, elsewhere in the industry women are paid significantly less for their contribution to the sector than men – on average, women in the tech industry earn about 9% less than men.

Claudia Harris, chair at Makers Academy and CEO of Careers Enterprise Company, said: “Women software engineers know what a great career this is. Now we also have proof that it is fairly remunerated – at least at the beginning.”

But Harris also pointed out that more needs to be done to make sure there is equality from start to finish when it comes to salary, which can be achieved through strategies such as unconscious bias training, better human resources processes, and a top-down approach to change, among other things.

Many believe reporting gender pay gaps will contribute towards fixing them in the future as it forces firms to own up to, and take responsibility for, their contribution in inequality.

As well as this mindset, there has been an increasing focus on creating more inclusive environments that cater to everyone to create a more balanced workplace.

For example, one of the factors believed to contribute to the gender pay gap in tech is maternity leave, as a career break can make progress more difficult when returning to work. Encouraging men to take paternity leave could help to address this, while making work environments more inclusive for everyone involved.

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