Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bureau of Labor Statistics

I decided to look again at Women in the IT / CS Workforce, and started by looking at some of the papers that Jeria had sent us. I started by looking at the ITAA Report from 2003. It goes over the same things that other people have found - lack of role models, information gap, the field not seeming attractive, etc. It gave some statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), so I decided to look there again - despite past failed efforts to locate good data due to the poor structure of the BLS website. I was more successful this time (though I only located the data that I wanted after downloading about 30 other PDFs and visiting 20 different webpages).

There were other occupations in the "Computer and Mathematical Occupations" category, such as actuaries, database administrators, statisticians, etc. But I only want to look at computer scientists, computer programmers, and computer software engineers.

I analyzed the data a bit to find out percentages of men and women in these occupations and also differences in wages. It was pretty astounding.

So, women earn on average, between 79% and 87% of what men do in these fields, and overall in all computer and mathematical occupations, earn about 83% of what men do. The statistics were given for weekly earnings, and I found that women in the CS occupations earned on average $207 dollars fewer per week than men did, which, when I multiplied by 52 (52 weeks in a year), gave an average difference of over $10,000! And when you look at all computer and mathematical occupations, you find that the average difference in yearly pay is over $12,000! That's a lot of money!

But then you look at summaries of the statistics (for 2007, instead of 2008): "Within professional and related occupations, women working as pharmacists, lawyers, and computer software engineers had the highest median weekly earnings."

Amazing! Women are earning on average more than $10,000 less than their male counterparts, and this is among the highest median earnings for women!

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