Girls Who Code

Austin tumbles in new ranking of best U.S. cities for women in tech

Austin tumbles in new ranking of best U.S. cities for women in tech

Woman working at a computer
Bad news: The gender pay gap in tech is widening. Photo by Laurence Dutton/Getty Images

Austin has a reputation as a technology hub, but if you're a woman working in that industry, your paychecks may not be as lucrative as everyone thinks. And even worse news: the tech mecca is trending downward.

In the latest ranking from SmartAsset, Austin landed 49th out of 59 among big cities in the United States for women in technology jobs. That's a slip of five spots from last year, and sadly it's on trend with the rest of the country, where national tech gender pay gap has widened.

In 2015, women working in computer and mathematical occupations were paid about 86.9 percent of what their male counterparts made. In 2018, the national gender pay gap in the tech industry was 83.1 percent, meaning that women's earnings relative to men's decreased by about 3.8 percent.

The study took into consideration four key factors: gender pay gap, income after housing, percentage of tech jobs filled by women, and four-year employment growth. Using data from the U.S. Census, SmartAsset only looked at cities with populations of 200,000 residents or more that had reliable data, which left the study with 59 cities across the country.

The average female tech worker in Austin has $51,666 left from her salary after paying for a home, and Austin's wage gap between male and female workers was 82 percent, which is actually up 2 percent from last year. And, at 21.9 percent, Austin has a low percentage of women in tech positions, considering its reputation as a booming innovation hub.

Among Texas cities, Houston was tops, earning a spot at No. 6 nationwide — but that's also down two spots from the year before.

Houston's tech pay is still what stands out. The average female tech worker there has $64,464 left from her salary after paying for a home, and Houston ranks seventh overall in this metric. With a ratio of 99 percent, Houston's wage gap when it comes to tech jobs ranked the city No. 2 for smallest wage gap. However, at 25.8 percent, Houston also has a low percentage of women in tech positions.

Dallas is ranked in the bottom 10 — specifically, 54th out of 59 — with northern suburb Plano faring much better in a tie for 27th with New York City, of all places. But Fort Worth landed at a respectable No. 17, the highest among all cities ranked in DFW.

In Dallas, the average female tech worker has $43,444 left from her salary after housing costs. Dallas' wage gap is 77 percent, and women fill just 24.5 percent of tech positions there.

By comparison, the average female tech worker in Fort Worth has $52,623 left from her salary after housing costs. Fort Worth's wage gap has jumped to 92 percent. And women fill 25 percent of tech positions in the city.

Besides Plano with its high(er) salary but very low four-year projected tech growth (only 6 percent), one other DFW city made the list: Irving secured No. 39, the same spot it held last year.

San Antonio was one spot above, tied with Kansas City, Missouri, for 38th place with a fairly low income of $43,451.

Which cities ranked highest? Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Arlington, Virginia topped the list. California's major tech players — such as San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland — all ranked in the middle of the pack or worse, with only Long Beach hitting the top 10 at No. 7.

And trailing Dallas at the bottom of the list were Raleigh, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Colorado Springs.