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U.S. Data Shows Diminishing Diversity, Escalating Gender Divide in Progression to Top Analytics Roles

Harnham’s annual State of Diversity in Data and Analytics report shows pay and opportunities for minorities and women decrease as seniority rises.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose press releases related to the data and analytics industry. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key information but make no claims as to its accuracy.

A new report released from Harnham, a global leader in data and analytics recruitment, finds that pay and opportunities for minorities and women decrease as seniority rises.

Harnham’s annual State of Diversity in Data and Analytics report involving 9,500 respondents takes a deep dive into diversity and inclusion across the data and analytics industry globally, focusing on gender, ethnicity, race, disability, and age. It revealed a mixed landscape, with pockets of both progress and stagnation. 

For example, although the industry is more diverse than most, there has been little change over the last 12 months despite employers frequently naming diversity as a key priority. African Americans are particularly under-represented in the industry at only 4 percent compared to 12 percent of the population as a whole, as are Hispanic/Latin professionals, accounting for 6 percent of the industry compared to 19 percent of the U.S. population.

Although the gender pay gap has decreased overall across the industry to 10 percent from 14 percent last year, it has also widened in certain areas, with men paid nearly a quarter higher in some sections of the industry.

Harnham recognises that there are initiatives being taken by employers to actively improve diversity, but the report drives home the need for the industry to continue to put its money where its mouth is if it hopes to remain trailblazing and innovative.

Gender Divide 

The data and analytics industry, like many within STEM, has traditionally been a male-dominated field. This year’s findings indicate that this is still largely the case.

The number of women in the industry has dropped slightly from 27 percent to 26 percent from last year. This is most noticeable in advanced analytics (26 percent), digital analytics (26 percent), and life sciences (32 percent) -- the 3 specialties that were previously the most gender diverse.

However, areas of the industry that have traditionally struggled with gender diversity have seen some improvements this year. In computer vision, for example, women now account for 21 percent of professionals, an increase of 62 percent on last year’s figure of 13 percent.

Gender Pay Gap

In 2022, male professionals in data and analytics took home an average annual salary of $168,040; their female counterparts took home an average salary of $150,960 -- a pay gap of 10 percent. Though still high, this is a somewhat positive sign for the industry, showing a drop from 14 percent gap last year but also falling below the U.S. average of 18 percent.

Interestingly, there was no correlation between the number of women working in a specific specialty and the gender pay gap in that area. In fact, the specialty with the most women, life science analytics, has the second highest gender pay gap at 20 percent.

The worst gender pay gap is in the computer vision sector where men are earning 24 percent more than women.

Racial Minority Divide

White professionals make up less of the data and analytics industry than they do of the country as a whole (53 percent vs. 58 percent), making it one of the more ethnically diverse prominent industries. However, just because there are fewer white professionals than the national average, it does not mean that all other ethnicities are seeing increased representation. In fact, representation versus national percentages varies widely. For example, South and East Asian professionals account for 16 percent of the industry (compared to 6 percent of the population), while Hispanic and Latin professionals, making up 19 percent of the U.S. population, only account for 6 percent of the data and analytics industry.

However, there are more promising signs within professionals who are in their first role in data and analytics. Here, white professionals make up 34 percent of the industry, while African American professionals account for 8 percent, and in the biggest increase, Indian professionals have moved from 11 percent to 21 percent of the industry.

Ethnicity Pay Gap

Although there is evidence throughout data and analytics of a pay gap between Caucasian professionals and their Black, Indigenous, and People of Color colleagues, our findings indicate that, throughout the industry, this averages out at 0 percent. That is not to say that no such gap exists, as there is some fluctuation among specialties, such as a 5 percent pay gap in data science.

Intersectionality also must be considered. there is no general pay gap based on ethnicity, but the gap between white male professionals and BIPOC female professionals is 12 percent, 20 percent higher than the overall gender pay gap of 10 percent.

Leadership Divide

Despite increasing awareness around the importance of equality in leadership, there is a trend of diversity decreasing as seniority rises. This is starkest in terms of ethnicity, where representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color falls from 70 percent at entry level to just 38 percent at VP and above. This number falls to just 9 percent in both data and technology and life science analytics.

The fall in gender is also drastic, with women accounting for 36 percent of entry level professionals and 18 percent of VP roles across the industry, a drop of 50 percent. There are several potential reasons for this but taking an extended career break (of over three months) for childcare may have an impact. Our survey found that while 22 percent of women working in data and analytics had taken an extended break for this reason, the same was true for only 5 percent of male professionals.

The Disability Divide

Although over one in five U.S. working-age adults identifies as having a disability, in data and analytics this number sits at 8 percent. This number does, however, rise to 12 percent when looking at those in their first role in the industry

To download a copy of the Harnham Diversity Report in Data & Analytics, visit

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