It pays to be a tech-savvy woman in Kansas City.
Women typically earn significantly less than men — on average, about 80 cents on the dollar for full-time workers. And in the tech industry things are no different, with pay gaps of about 20%; even when you look at men and women in the same job, there’s a gap — typically between 1 and 6%.
But one city in America consistently bucks that trend, according to data released by personal finance site SmartAsset.com on Wednesday. Indeed, Kansas City, MO is the only city in which the average female tech worker has earned more than the average male tech worker in the past four years the firm has been doing the study.
“We saw women in tech earn more than their male counterparts, on average, in Detroit and Indianapolis in both the 2016 and 2017 versions of this study, but Kansas City is the only location where the pay gap has consistently remained in favor of women,” says AJ Smith, vice president of financial education at SmartAsset. KC is also home to tech firms like C250, named by Forbes as one of the top 50 fintech firms in America in 2015; cloud-based package intelligence firm VeriShip; DSI, which creates apps and software for digital supply chain management; and many more. Amazon also considered KC for its second headquarters, but nixed it from the finalists earlier this year.
Why is the Kansas City tech scene so female-forward when it comes to pay? Matt Condon, the chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, says he thinks it has to do with there being a lot of strong female leaders in the wider community — which has trickled down into KC’s growing tech industry. Indeed, he rattles off a long list of female execs and leaders in the city including Wendy Guilles, the CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, which helps entrepreneurs in the area; past Chamber chairs who were women like Roshann Parris; and Karen Daniels, the CFO of Black and Veatch, a big engineering firm in the area. “This city has been uniquely engaging of women leaders,” Condon, who is also the CEO of Bardavon Health Innovations, says. “We’re looking for the best people to do the best job” regardless of gender.
Jenny Hagen, a sales and marketing coordinator at Kansas-based tech firm Bixy, says she isn’t that surprised about KC being more equitable, but adds that there are still things she would change about the KC tech scene. “The only downside so far is that it is still heavily male populated. I don’t get treated differently because of it, but that is one thing I definitely would change,” she tells Moneyish.
Indeed, women still hold only about one in four tech jobs in KC, SmartAsset found — though this isn’t that different from other cities. Here are the 15 best cities for women in tech, ranked on pay equality, income after housing costs, tech jobs filled by women and tech job growth.
For the second year in a row, Washington D.C. and Kansas City take the top spots. D.C. edges out Kansas City in part because women make up 38.5% of the tech workforce there, the highest rate in the country, and because job growth is so robust. Still, Kansas City has a more favorable pay rate.
Tech hubs in California, on the other hand, are noticeably absent from the list. “Only one city in the Golden State, Fremont, ranked in the top 15. In general, women working in tech in California tend to be underpaid and underrepresented when compared to their male counterparts,” SmartAsset concludes.
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