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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

The Gender Pay Gap That Won't Go Away

TDWI's 2019 salary survey reveals that although there is some good news for women, the wage disparity between men and women in data and analytics remains.

If you're a TDWI Member, you may have seen our salary report. The report quantifies and interprets the compensation, roles, responsibilities, skills, and experience of individual analytics and data professionals. It also provides detailed profiles of the most common analytics and data warehousing roles, examining age, gender, education, salary and bonus, background, and other characteristics. TDWI has been collecting this data for years and it is a great TDWI member benefit.

For Further Reading:

Current and past TDWI Salary Surveys available to TDWI Members

How to Survive and Thrive as a Woman in Data and Analytics

TDWI 2016 Salary Survey: Gender Pay Gap Remains

I am particularly interested in the gender gap in data and analytics. As we move into Women's History Month in March, I have been examining the results from TDWI's latest salary survey. Approximately 338 people from the U.S. responded to the survey, with a female/male ratio of 34/66. The median wage for men was $130,000 and the median wage was $120,000 for women. For those respondents earning a bonus, men and women earned a comparable median bonus of about $14,000.

Although the median values change over time, the pattern remains constant: Women earn less than men. For the purpose of this analysis, I examined only U.S. respondents who work full time (the complete report contains lower numbers because it includes responses from Canada). There was no significant difference between men and women for demographic characteristics such as location, overall years of experience, and education level (at bachelor's and master's degree levels). As is typically the case, however, it is a complex picture.

Women still earn less at every education level. Although salaries for both men and women typically increase as their educational level rises, at any education level the median salary for men is higher than it is for women. At the bachelor's degree level (the level with most of the respondents) for instance, the median salary for women was $119,000 versus $130,000 for men. At higher levels, the difference decreases. For instance, at the master's level, the median salary for women was $122,500 versus $128,400 for men.

Years at company is a factor. Likewise, women typically earn less than their male counterparts in the first 10 years at a company. This is especially true for those women who identified as IT, data management, or analytics professionals (as opposed to business sponsors). The picture gets more muddled after that. However, in peak earning years (mid-40s to early 50s), it appears that the gap between male and female salaries may narrow, at least in this survey.

Roles may matter. In this survey, women business sponsors made more than their male counterparts, although number of respondents was low. Women in IT, data management, or analytics -- as well as women consultants (with a higher number of respondents) -- had lower median incomes than their male counterparts.

Overall, women earned 92 percent of what men did in 2019. Although bonuses were comparable this year (perhaps due to the economy) and the median wage gap was slightly better than several years ago (at 89 percent), there is still room for improvement. Interestingly, this year, women were less likely than men to feel that they were fairly compensated. That may be a sign that women are becoming aware of wage discrepancies and may be starting to speak out more about their compensation. Let's see where the data goes in 2020 and if suggested gains in this year's survey persist.

About the Author

Fern Halper, Ph.D., is well known in the analytics community, having published hundreds of articles, research reports, speeches, webinars, and more on data mining and information technology over the past 20 years. Halper is also co-author of several “Dummies” books on cloud computing, hybrid cloud, and big data. She is VP and senior research director, advanced analytics at TDWI Research, focusing on predictive analytics, social media analysis, text analytics, cloud computing, and “big data” analytics approaches. She has been a partner at industry analyst firm Hurwitz & Associates and a lead analyst for Bell Labs. Her Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University. You can reach her at [email protected], on Twitter @fhalper, and on LinkedIn at

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