Chicago-based custom software consultancy Tandem has made its salary bands public “as a part of its ongoing efforts to improve equity within the technology industry,” the company said in a March 10 announcement. Tandem says the initiative is part of an effort to level the playing field in tech, an industry that is predominantly white, male, and heterosexual.

“The world of tech is full of opportunity, but that opportunity is often unequally distributed,” Tandem says.

Black, Hispanic, and female engineers are heavily underrepresented in computer science jobs. And when people from underrepresented groups do access tech industry careers, they are often paid less than their white male counterparts.”

According to a 2019 report on the gender pay gap by Glassdoor, tech has one of the highest occupational pay gaps in the U.S. at 11.6 per cent, and Black and Hispanic employees are often paid less than their white and Asian colleagues.

In Canada, it is very much the same — especially for Indigenous programmers, which remain severely underrepresented in the sector. According to a 2019 report by the Brookfield Institute, many individuals identifying as Indigenous are being paid less than their non-Indigenous colleagues, ranging from an average of $30,000 lower for people identifying as Inuit, to $3,400 lower for those identifying as Métis. 

 Tandem has published salary bands on its website, and the bands will be regularly evaluated against the job market and cost-of-living increases, the company says.

In a Statement, Mercedes Bernard, VP of Delivery at the company says the gesture represents “just one of many ongoing steps toward creating an inclusive tech industry we can truly be proud of.”


Pay transparency appears to be an effective way to level the playing field, according to a January 2020 payscale report by PayScale Inc. PayScale looked at 1.6 million survey responses on compensation collected between September 2017 and September 2019, then comparing it to three previous two-year data sets and found transparency does eliminate pay gaps.

But it also found a “significant” disparity between the way white women and men are compensated — a gap that’s more pronounced for women of colour.

“While only 3 per cent of all white women make it to the executive level of an organization (compared to 6 per cent of white men), only 2 per cent of Asian, Black, and Hispanic women make it to the C-suite,” reads an excerpt from the report.

Overall, women of colour who climb to the highest levels of management continue to earn less than their male colleagues, taking home about $0.63 for every dollar a white male executive makes.

“Even when we control for compensable factors, Black women who are executives get paid $0.95 cents for every dollar a White man with the same qualifications does,” the report reads.

While all races were equally likely to ask for a raise, women of colour were 19 per cent less likely to receive one when compared to a white man.

Men of colour were 25 per cent less likely to receive a raise in comparison to a white man, PayScale says.