Women in IT gaining ground on male colleagues

FRAMINGHAM (02/13/2004) - For the first time in its short history, which dates back to 2000, IT job board Dice Inc. reports that women's salaries in IT have moved closer to those of their male peers. According to the Dice 2003 Annual Salary Survey, women's salaries increased 5 percent to US$62,800. Men's salaries increased 2 percent to $69,700, which narrowed the gender gap to 11 percent.

Scot Melland, CEO of Dice.com, says more women are working more hours in IT, and that is driving their salaries up. According to the survey, women who reported working more than 55 hours per week earned 7.5 percent less than men. Industry also plays a role in the gender gap. Women IT pros at Internet services companies had salaries only 3 percent less than their male counterparts. Meanwhile in the medical and pharmaceutical fields, women made 19 percent less than men did. "Definitely what's interesting about the gender gap this year is that it actually improved," Melland says. "The pay gap is much, much smaller than it is in other job sectors."

The survey of 21,000 IT professionals (both men and women) found that government and defense salaries made the largest gains, growing 4 percent ($2,600) to $64,600. Computer hardware salaries also increased 4 percent to $57,900. Although overall salaries gained a modest 2 percent, Melland says the fact that salaries are going up again is a good economic sign. "That's telling us we've definitely turned the corner," Melland says. "We're better off than we were 6 to 12 months ago. Two percent is better than a decline."

Melland says that Dice.com clients expect to hire more in 2004, and postings on the site would confirm that as they are up 40 percent over last year. Entry level salaries, another positive indicator, rose 3 percent. Older workers (over 50 years old), on the other hand, saw their salaries decline 4 percent. Melland says many of the older workers are contractors or consultants and the demand for these workers hasn't been as strong as in the past.

Top positions, according to the survey, include network and MIS manager positions, which gained 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in 2003. The highest paying titles remained unchanged over 2002: IT management ($104,000), project management ($83,200), systems developer ($83,200) and software engineer ($81,400). Top skills include SAP and PeopleSoft. Full-time workers with these skills reported earning $75,200 and $72,400, respectively.

Melland says the best positions are available right now in the aerospace and defense industries, which are looking for application programmers and network engineers with security clearance.

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