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Silicon Valley Poll: Men And Women View Things Differently When It Comes To Pay And Opportunity In The Workplace

Silicon Valley Poll: Men and women view things differently when it comes to pay and opportunity in the workplace

By Kimberly Ellis, Senior Vice President, Communications & Marketing, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

SAN JOSE, CA – Perceptions are clearly different for men and women when asked about pay and opportunity in the Bay Area. While both men and women are likely to think women are paid the same as men for similar jobs, men are more likely to hold that belief according to a recent Silicon Valley Poll held in May. Two-thirds of men say women in their workplace are paid the same for comparable roles, while only 52 percent of women say the same. 36 percent of women also say they are paid less than men in their workplace, compared to 20 percent of men who think this is the case.

Figure 1: Perceptions of Pay Parity

“In your workplace, do you think (ASK MEN ONLY: women) (ASK WOMEN ONLY: you) are paid more, paid less or paid about the same, as men for doing the same job?”


 All VotersJob Type – WomenFemale Tech Employees
White CollarServiceYesNo
Paid Less28%41%31%43%32%
Paid Same60%47%61%47%56%
Paid More3%1%3%1%2%

So, do women have the same opportunity for advancement as their male counterparts? Fifty-eight percent of 1,843 voters in five Bay Area counties say women have the same opportunities as men; fewer than a third say that they have fewer opportunities than men and one in ten say they have more. However, men are slightly more likely to think women have the same opportunities (63%) than are women (53%), and women are more likely to say they have fewer opportunities (35% compared to 24% of men).

Figure 2: Opportunities for Promotion and Advancement by Gender

“In your workplace, do you think that women have more, fewer or the same opportunities for promotion and advancement as men do?”

Level of OpportunityAll VotersMenWomen
More opportunities9%9%8%
Same opportunities58%63%53%
Fewer opportunities29%24%35%

“The poll shows there’s still a portion of women who feel that parity is not true, so we need to continue to address this issue until there is an overwhelming sentiment of fairness and equality,” said Margaret Gray, Director of Education Policy and Workforce Preparedness at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “We feel we’ll have the most impact by working to build a diverse STEM pipeline, so there is further representation in the workforce translating into a stronger workforce and more leadership opportunities for women.”

The Leadership Group is currently working with 18 regional colleges to provide internships, worksite visits, mentoring, curriculum development, and teaching opportunities as part of the Community College to Career (CC2C) initiative. The initiative expands opportunities for community college students to earn industry-relevant certificates to enter the workforce and transfer to earn 4-year degrees. Over half of women who get advanced degrees in STEM-related fields started out at community college. To learn about the CC2C initiative or to obtain more data from the poll contact Kimberly Ellis at (408) 501-7853 or [email protected].

The poll of 1,834 registered voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Bay Area News Group. The poll, conducted from May 5-14, has a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points. 

 About Silicon Valley Leadership Group
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, represents nearly 365 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers on issues, programs and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley including energy, transportation, education, housing, health care, tax policies, economic vitality and the environment. The Leadership Group members collectively provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and generate more than $3 trillion in annual revenue.

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