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IT Pro Salaries: The Gender Gap Widens

Last year, the median salaries of American women in all professions declined steeply compared to median salaries for men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, giving back gains made since 2008. This negative trend was also reflected in our survey numbers.

In our 2013 survey, women in data center and networking management positions earned $5,000 less in base salary per year than men, and $6,000 less than men with bonuses are added. This year, women in these jobs earned $21,000 less per annum in base salary, and $24,000 less with bonuses added.

All in all, male managers in networking and datacenters are being paid 27% more than female managers in base salary, and 29% more than women with bonuses included. Granted, women represent only 7% of all networking and data center professionals in the survey, but the data seem to support the BLS findings.

While salaries and total compensation for male managers are relatively flat, they plummeted for women, suggesting that essentially the entire downward pressure on median compensation can be attributed to lower pay for women.

"Women in the networking field are still paid below salary of what a male would make," wrote one woman with 17 years' experience in IT, currently serving as a systems administrator for a healthcare firm. And one 26-year veteran IT analyst for a university told us she's actively looking for more challenging work elsewhere, but she's been quoted starting salaries as much as $25,000 less per annum "to perform not only the same job responsibilities but more."

The news was not as bad for female staff members in our survey, for whom the pay gap for base salaries shrank to $4,000 per annum (down from $10,000 last year). For total compensation, the gap shrank to $5,000 (down from $12,000).

As noted above, women in data centers and networking represent only 7% of the staff members among our survey respondents and 6% of management. This subset demonstrated some of the lowest growth results.

However, among the 11,662 total respondents to InformationWeek's industry-wide survey, representing IT as a whole, the compensation picture for women overall is poor. Women in IT management report being paid a median annual base salary of $104,000  -- a gap that's 9% lower than men and growing by about 1% per year since 2012. For staff, women report they're paid $79,000 -- 12% below men, with the gap growing by 1% per year.