Canadian pay gap in tech jobs is nearly $20k a year

The average pay gap between men and women in Canadian tech jobs is nearly $20,000 a year according to a new study revealed by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (BII+E), housed within Ryerson University in Toronto.

Women, with a bachelor’s degree or higher, earn nearly $20,000 less a year than their male counterparts.

The BII+E crunched 2016 Statistics Canada census data with methodology based on the US O*Net system for skills breakdowns.

It found a $19,750 pay gap between female and male workers, with women averaging $75,500 a year, compared with $95,100 for men.

“These numbers pop out at you,” said Sean Mullin, the Brookfield Institute’s executive director.

“An almost $20,000 gap between men and women with a bachelor’s degree in the same profession is pretty significant and we, as citizens, should aspire to be better than that and to fix those types of disparities.”

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry.

The research encompasses digital occupations such as the development of hardware or software and high-tech occupations that require advanced technical skills such as engineers and scientists.

Brookfield said there were about 935,000 Canadians working in tech occupations that year, representing 5.1% of the Canadian labour force.

When all Canadian tech jobs are examined, regardless of education, the pay gap shrinks to $7,300 with men earning $76,200 annually on average and women earning roughly $68,900.

Mullin said the report didn’t delve into causes of the gap, but noted that general research has shown women are less likely to enter science, technology, engineering and math careers and face additional barriers from family and cultural stereotypes.

“There are diversity and representation challenges, but they are not necessarily worse than other parts of the economy,” he said. “In some ways (tech) is better, but better is not good enough. We shouldn’t be satisfied with better.”

However, Mullin said there were some positives – that tech workers were paid “considerably more” than non-tech workers, with high-tech workers earning on average $45,000 more and digital workers making $21,000 more.

Mullin said the Canadian tech sector has grown by 24% over 10 years, becoming the country’s third highest in terms of jobs growth, with at least another 200,000 jobs in the sector over the next decade.