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What is the Gender Wage Gap in South African Software Development?

In the rapidly changing world of South African technology, the persisting gender wage gap in the software development profession has become a source of worry. Recent publications from OfferZen and Women inTech put light on this growing disparity, providing both statistical insights and a personal perspective on the problems that female engineers experience in the field.

Statistical Overview:

According to Women inTech, women hold only 23% of the country’s tech employment (Mkoko, 2023). This statistical underrepresentation demonstrates a significant gender disparity in the technology business. This trend is supported by OfferZen’s 2023 report, which shows a significant increase in the gender pay gap over the last year, from 6.4% to 13.2% for entry-level developers and from 16.3% to 25.7% for senior devs.

Insights from OfferZen CEO, Philip Joubert:

Philip Joubert, Co-founder and CEO of OfferZen, acknowledges that, while discrimination may play a role, it is only one factor contributing to the growing gender pay gap in technology. Joubert encourages local companies to examine their compensation structures to ensure fair remuneration for women in the industry, emphasising the significance of doing so not only for the sake of equality but also to retain high-quality tech talent in a competitive job market.

The research article also examines the effect of the gender wage gap on developer retention. A striking pattern emerges: developers are increasingly leaving jobs in search of higher pay, benefits, and remote work alternatives. More than half of developers identify a higher pay as the key reason for leaving, up 9.9% from 2022. Furthermore, 20% of engineers now want better benefits, up from 16.6% the previous year (Malinga, 2023).

The emphasis on providing remote work opportunities emerges as a significant factor in keeping the best employees. Developers departing due to a lack of remote work possibilities have increased by 16.1% since the previous report. This is especially true for senior developers, who are in high demand and becoming more selective in their work choices.

As a second year computer science student entering the software development field, the widening gender pay gap raises eyebrows and sparks introspection. It’s disconcerting to think that, despite our collective technological strides, there is an enduring inequality that demands urgent rectification.

From my perspective, the inequity of having to work doubly hard as a female student compared to my male counterparts to secure a job is a glaring reality that points to systemic issues within the tech industry. Equality should be the bedrock of any profession, and the software development field should exemplify this principle. The hiring decisions should be based on the skills, dedication, and potential of individuals, devoid of any gender biases.

Efforts to close this gap should not rely just on aspiring female developers, but should include collaborative initiatives from industry leaders, businesses, and educational institutions. To promote gender equality, businesses must actively examine their wage arrangements and create inclusive workplaces.

In conclusion, the rising gender wage gap in South African technology requires immediate action from all stakeholders. Addressing these gaps is more than simply about equality; it is critical to our industry’s long-term growth and competitiveness. The findings from OfferZen, Women inTech, and my own observations highlight the obstacles that women face in technology and point the way to a more inclusive and equitable tech industry in South Africa.

References

Malinga, S., 2023. SA’s female developers still earn less than males. [Online]
Available at: https://www.itweb.co.za/article/sas-female-developers-still-earn-less-than-males/Pero3MZ3yW3qQb6m

Mkoko, S., 2023. SA gender pay gap in the tech industry continues to widen. [Online]
Available at: https://www.topbusinesswomen.co.za/sa-gender-pay-gap-in-the-tech-industry-continues-to-widen/