When it Comes to Pay, Study Says L.A. is Worst Big City for Women in Tech

Los Angeles is the worst big city for women working in tech in the nation with females making only 82 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts pull in, according to a new report from the financial website SmartAsset that considers the gender pay gap, earnings after housing costs, women's representation in the tech workforce and four-year tech employment growth.

Eighty-two cents on the dollar is close to the national average. But, L.A.'s ranking was hurt most by the city's notoriously high housing costs. The report estimates women earn $44,517 after paying for a place to live, compared to $55,745 nationally.


"It upsets me that in a city that hypes itself as so progressive, it's not," said Carmen Palafox, a partner at MiLA Capital, which invests in pre-seed and seed technology ventures.

But, it comes back down to a venture and tech community that's male dominated, she said.

"I look at companies everyday. And I get decks that the whole team is male," she said. "I don't think this would happen if we had more women CEOs. That's supported by data. Women employ a more diverse workforce and I find it hard to believe that women-led companies would have such wide pay gaps."

The Bay Area has more expensive rental and home prices but also higher salaries, so San Francisco female tech workers make $74,401 after housing expenses, putting it at No. 33 on the list.

Women looking for a better place to work and live might consider Long Beach, where female tech workers actually earn more than men, the only city in the study where that happens. Long Beach also had one of the biggest percentage increases in tech workers in the nation, going from 4,500 workers in 2015 to 6,000 in 2018.

Despite widespread attention to the issue, the nationwide gender pay gap in tech is getting worse. In 2018, women earned 83.1 cents on the dollar compared to what men make, a 3.8 cent decrease from 2015. Women comprise about a quarter of the tech workforce nationally.

Baltimore and Washington D.C. ranked as the best place for women to work in tech, with a gender pay gap of 94 and 93 cents, respectively.

Rachel Uranga contributed to this report.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

When Christine Outram, founder and CEO of Everydae, a digital tutoring app, met with investors last year to try to raise a seed round she kept being told to come back in six months.

"I guess you can say we were turned down," she said.

Outram decided to try a different route, turning to equity crowdfunding, which allows mom and pop investors to dabble in something that until recently was solely the domain of professional investors. Her campaign proved successful – she raised $1.2 million from 1,586 people who wrote checks between $250 and $50,000.

Read more Show less

Barbara Chandler believes she contracted COVID-19 in March at her job, working in an Amazon warehouse in New York where she experienced "a culture of workplace fear reinforced by constant technological supervision, retaliation against those who speak out, and the threat of automatic and immediate job loss in a job market where it may be impossible to find work elsewhere," according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York this week.

Less than a month after contracting the virus, Chandler says she woke up to find her cousin, whom she lived with, dead after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Read more Show less

At a virtual town hall held Thursday by dot.LA and PledgeLA to identify actions leaders in the L.A. tech and startup community can take now to break down racial barriers to jobs and capital, and to democratize economic opportunity for the region -- there were ultimately a robust number of questions asked and interest expressed around the issue, though tangible actions remain to be seen.

Nearly 30 years after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, protesters across the U.S. gathered this time to march against systemic racism and violence faced by the black community after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Across social media, tech companies in L.A. and beyond have posted and tweeted their support for #blacklivesmatter, muted their feeds, and opened their pocketbooks, while music companies took part in a blackout. Companies have also donated to various diversity, equity and inclusion causes, but it remains an open question as to what impact those efforts will have.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending