UK Tech Workplace Equality Report reveals true levels of pay disparity

Hired reveals pay discrepancy and discrimination against diverse people in UK tech with four tips on how to avoid disparities.

All diverse groups experience an element of discrimination in UK tech, with those belonging to more than one diverse group receiving the worst harassment: LGBTQIA+ women and non-white neurodiverse people, in particular, reveals a new report by Hired – the career marketplace.

The UK Tech Workplace Equality Report also suggests there is a crisis of confidence in the UK tech landscape amongst all groups, with nearly half (38%) of all workers frequently suffering from impostor syndrome. 

The study into the pay discrepancy and discrimination experienced by the UK tech workforce analysed the salary data from real job offers and surveyed over 1,300 UK tech workers to understand the experiences of people across genders, ages, sexual orientation, race, roles and those who are neurodiverse in UK tech.

The key findings from each segment of the UK tech population were:

Women in UK tech are offered 4% less salary on average than men

  • An improvement on last year when the gap was 5% but lags behind the US wage gap which is 3%
  • In cash value, this amounts to £3,000, as women in tech earn £63,000 on average versus men who earn £66,000 
  • 61% of the time men are offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same company. 67% of women also ask for lower salaries than male peers, suggesting there is also an “expectation gap” between men and women in tech
  • There is still a shortage of women in the industry, with only 18% of the tech workforce being female
  • 3 in 5 women have suffered discrimination in the workplace because of their gender, with half experiencing bias during the interview process. 74% feel they aren’t taken seriously at work and 29% have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace

Black people are heavily under-represented in UK tech

  • 66% of UK tech workers are white, with only 3% being black, 6% mixed race and 17% Asian
  • Women in tech are less likely to be white, with a third of the female workforce being Asian versus just 13% of men
  • 65% of non-white people in the UK believe there is an ethnicity pay gap and 38% have experienced discrimination in the workplace because of their ethnicity – 29% also feel they aren’t taken seriously at work 

LGBTQIA+ women are 200% more likely to suffer discrimination than LGBTQIA+ men

  • 8% of UK tech workers are LGBTQIA+, with 68% defining as female, 22% as male and 7% as non binary – a quarter also consider themselves to be neurodiverse
  • A third of LGBTQIA+ people believe there is a wage gap between the LGBTQIA+ community and heterosexual people in tech, with a quarter discovering they have been paid £10,000 to £14,999 less than a heterosexual colleague
  • The majority of LGBTQIA+ people haven’t experienced discrimination in the workplace, although 46% of neurodiverse LGTQIA+ people have

71% of neurodiverse people aren’t taken seriously in the workplace

  • 1 in 10 people in the tech workforce consider themselves to be neurodiverse and over a third of this group have suffered discrimination at work
  • Neurodiverse people are more likely (57%) to have “impostor syndrome” in the tech workplace compared to 35% of non-neurodiverse people
  • Half of the neurodiverse women (47%) have experienced discrimination because they are neurodiverse and 80% of non-white neurodiverse people aren’t taken seriously by company leadership or peers
  • Half of the neurodiverse population feel their needs are adequately supported in the workplace
  • However, 54% of neurodiverse people of colour believe their needs are not supported

Younger and older people face discrimination because of their age

  • Older people (38+) are most likely to experience age-related bias in the interview process, whilst younger people (aged 18 to 37) are most likely to feel they aren’t taken seriously
  • “Impostor syndrome” is more of an issue for younger people, with 41% suffering from it frequently and 30% of older people never experiencing it

Commenting on the report, Gordon Smith, GM, Europe at Hired, said: “As a company that works closely with UK tech businesses, we know how hard many of these companies are working to tackle inequity and discrimination in the workplace.

“Our study sheds a light on the issue by showcasing that the overall landscape is in need of progress as the gender pay gap and discrimination against all minorities remains an issue that urgently needs to be solved. Our hope is that the UK tech industry is able to use our data to spark positive change and that companies continue to stay committed to creating impactful change.” 

The salary data in this report comes from more than 30,000 interview requests, and job offers to over 5,100 candidates in the UK facilitated through Hired’s global marketplace of 10,000 participating companies and more than 98,000 job seekers. The rest of the data comes from a survey of more than 1,329 UK tech candidates on Hired’s marketplace.

How to avoid the pitfalls

UK tech companies can avoid pay discrepancy and discrimination by taking a few simple steps says Smith. These are:

Being as transparent as possible with existing and prospective employees is the most important first step. Give clarity around timelines for raises and promotions so that everyone understands the pay and progression processes is important. 

Firms need to reduce bias in the hiring process to boost diversity and remain competitive by implementing a compensation strategy that will dictate that each candidate is offered the same salary, irrespective of their wage expectations. 

Blind recruitment is an option that can be implemented in the hiring process. This means that interviewers don’t have any insight into candidates’ personal information (such as their educational background) so will select candidates unswayed by unconscious bias. 

Hiring practices need to change to remove the outdated stigma surrounding ‘non-traditional’ education (non-university based education) as this isolates a valuable section of the talent pool who may be self-taught, may have attended bootcamps like General Assembly or may have relevant apprenticeships.
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