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Hi Jacque,
This is a really interesting topic with a lot of potential for misleading data. In my opinion I think we need better data to really understand the issue. The census data from the 2014 Silicon Valley Index you site is too broad. People just can’t believe the data when presented in this fashion and will write it off as bad data. We need a comparison of pay for employees in the same job and level to make the data more believable. Is this really a pay issue when you compare employees in the same job, a personal life choice issue and/or a bias that limits access to STEM jobs for women? If it really is purely a pay issue wouldn’t the marketplace tend to self-correct as companies look to take advantage of the cost difference and drive more demand?

When you look at the data from the clients you consult with in the Valley do you really see a 40% difference in pay for employees in the same job and level? There is no dispute that there is an issue, we just need a better understanding of the issue. Is the issue the same in other tech centers? Is the pay gap less prominent in Seattle, Austin, Denver, NY, Boston,…?

BTW, how is the reaction to the offer Apple and Facebook are implanting to pay for female employees to have their eggs frozen as a way to attract more women? I can see the right intentions behind the move but it can also be signaling that if you want to make it in the Valley as a women you have to do it our way.


The most precise analyses have shown the gender bias to be closer to 20% after all other variables have been considered. Nevertheless, the "market" solution has been consistently undercut by the old habit (once a joke) of hiring two women for the cost of one man with a slightly different title.

Jim ---- This is a survey of Silicon Valley companies. The 20% you refer to is U.S. wide and all industries.

Trevor ---- This is strictly Silicon Valley because it's the high tech industry we're talking about and SV has the largest number of high tech companies in the U.S. (understand there are other high tech centers). Also, SV companies have come under the most scrutiny lately given Google, Apple and Facebook's recent revelations about their employee population gender gap.

It's the chicken and the egg. Do women steer clear of STEM jobs because they have been taught historically that those jobs aren't for women? Do they stay away because word has spread that high tech culture is not "user friendly" for women? Another reason for low number of women is that many in STEM jobs already leave companies because of the sexist culture (too much info to include in this post). Regardless of the reasons, there are far fewer women in STEM jobs than men.

Agree that this survey doesn't show gap by job level data. In fairness though I don't know of any survey that looks at gender gap by job level. The companies I know of in SV with STEM jobs do have gender gap at each level but the gap varies.

This survey compares the pay gap for all levels lumped together by educational level and that’s the best we get. Ironically degrees may not become as important in the future as SV high tech companies at least are beginning to focus more on skills -- not education or years of experience.

The data is not ideal but it's the best we have. I wouldn't dismiss it. I don't think many people would deny there is a problem.

Companies need to look at pay gaps by job level in more detail to determine whether they need to take action. I'm betting that they do.

As for as the “freezing eggs” story I had to laugh. These companies are trying --- but the response is not positive. Women believe companies are doing this so they will quit worrying about their biological clock and continue to work!! So . . . will they unfreeze the eggs at age 50?? :-)

Sorry ---- I need to correct:
" Another reason for low number of women is that many in STEM jobs already leave companies"

It should read "women in STEM jobs"

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