Does bias in tech run deep?

According to Lylan Masterman, Principal at White Star Capital  bias runs deep for women in tech. Are we tackling the challenges that face women by asking them to hide their identity or does expressing it outwardly work out more beneficial for women?
“the women who are working in technology today know how to triumph over adversity. This is a group that has suffered significant bias in our society — studying computer science or engineering in college, going out into the male-dominated environment of the modern tech world and succeeding despite those biases. And then, many have gone on to start companies in the tech industry despite the well-known challenges there.”

Should women in the industry survive by being overtly or covertly present?



Does bias in tech run deep?

The Digital Age – A Natural Partner to Diversity

“Technical skills have always been in demand, but Boards need to create a culture, an ecosystem, around digital and digital thinking and this means increasing their functional diversity. If organisations are not disrupting their industries through digital innovation then they will be disrupted – so Boards need to keep pace to survive.” 

These are the words of Harvey Nash,  in “Diversifying Diversity – the next Board frontier”, who also mentions that those with digital expertise, capable of getting ahead of the game on digital technology, are yet to be effectively included in boards as technology “does not have the history and framework of qualification and knowledge of, say, finance that has been bedded into Boards for centuries”. 

At Gapsquare, a tech-based data-analysis company that is working to end the gender pay gap, this is interesting for two reasons:

Harvey Nash notes that whilst the world moves rapidly in terms of digitisation and technology, boards seem to be moving slow. As Nash puts it “Put simply, digital is a relatively new discipline and supply lags behind the market need.” In a digital, technological world, are boards getting out of step with the pace of change? It’s time for us to keep up with developments, and seek out the diverse talents emerging with digitisation. But there is no reason to believe that boards cannot and should not be simultaneously adapting to a more technological and more gender diverse world.

Nash argues that “diversity has become a broader issue than that of gender”, that gender is not the crucial issue for boards anymore; we would argue that progress in all forms, including in an understanding of an ever more technological world, can and should be inclusive of gender diversity. The ability to consider issues from a broad range of perspectives is essential to keeping boards ahead of the game in how a company is run. At present women represented “29 per cent of hires to UK boards last year down from 32.1 per cent in 2014” and only “8% of FTSE directors are non-white”. For us, technological developments are the key solution to these issues and should go hand in had with a greater range of viewpoints in the upper echelons of a business.


Is it possible that the gender pay gap and lack of cultural diversity is another symptom of a world that is not keeping on top of digitisation? A board, for example, behind on digital progress, is not representative of the world around them any more than a non gender or ethnically diverse board would be. We’d argue that if boards think fast in a changing world, they would inevitably include members of more diverse groups and those with a range of experience.


In a digital, technical, global world, are boards several steps behind? It’s time for us to keep up with developments, and seek out the diverse talents of a digital age. Gender-equality and technological awareness don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Gapsquare, for example, aims to utilise its technological expertise to drive gender diversity in business. Women, minority groups and those from a range of backgrounds, we would argue, should be inherently included more in a fast-paced digital age especially as, right now, it has never been easier to do so.




“Currently amongst CEOs and Chairs of FTSE 100 companies, there are twice as many men called John as there are women. We have been unable to make much progress on this issue because of our subconscious bias and the way we view executive roles and career progression. We have reached an important point when technology can help us reach inclusion at different levels much faster”

Gapsquare CEO Dr. Zara Nanu.


The Digital Age – A Natural Partner to Diversity

Today’s Gender Pay Regulations – The Tipping Point in Ensuring Workforce Equality


At Gapsquare we have worked with over 70 companies in the past 18 months who have taken the initiative on solving their gender pay gap and made use of our online tool that analyses and explains their gap for them.

It’s an interesting world out there for women and men in work. With some industries demonstrating higher workplace inequality than others. Construction and Building Trades Supervisors, for example, are demonstrating a gender pay gap of 45%!

Can we take a moment to take that in? Women in that particular field are likely to be working just as hard as men, but for almost half the pay.

Despite certain (American Presidential) comments that women would hypothetically make the same as men if they were to do as good a job, there’s no reason to believe that female Construction and Building Trades Supervisors are falling asleep at their desks or taking coffee breaks twice as often as men. I’m not even sure it’s possible to sleep that much whilst drinking that much coffee. So where do these problems coming from?

At Gapsquare, we know that it’s crucial that we not only understand pay gap at our individual companies but themes emerging throughout industries. By looking at these issues on a macro as well as micro level, we can solve them once and for all. Our clients have gotten ahead of today’s gender pay regulations and we are building up a narrative around gender pay issues across the country.

We have picked out some themes that are interesting, areas where pay gap analysis is skewed and key issues in certain industries. By understanding these, we can get to the bottom of the gender pay gap and hopefully, one day, stop having to talk about it altogether:

The Public Sector

  •  As you rise to the top, your male colleagues of the same age may start getting paid more than you.

    The public-sector organisations that we have worked with have a workforce composition of over 60% women, which is substantially higher than in other sectors, however it is characterised by the slow career progression of women.

    The longer a woman has been working for the organisation, the seemingly higher the pay discrepancy. From what we have seen so far, the pay gap fluctuates around 10% in the public sector, but if you break down the data by age, it jumps to about 22% as women get older.

  • They are looking into how ethnicity comes into the Gender Pay Gap

    What has also been interesting is that the public-sector organisations are interested in finding out how the gender pay gap varies by ethnicity. Although organisations are not required to keep a record of employee ethnicity, the public sector is more likely to track this information. Over the past year, public sector organisations have been more likely to use Gapsquare to measure gender pay gap by ethnicity, and get insights into what can be done to tackle intersectionality and reduce the pay gap for particular demographics. This is particularly encouraging for the public-sector and is a brilliant example of what can be done to tackle inequality throughout industries.
  • A lack of women on their way up to the top

    One of the requirements of the regulations is that companies report on the proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay.  For the public sector, but is also actually applicable for other industries, for example education, we are seeing a dip in the number of women in the second and third quartiles, essentially indicating the real lack of women in the mid-range management roles. This highlights the difficulty of women progressing into the mid-range roles, perpetuating the gender pay gap. Often, we are finding a few women in senior or board level careers, but due to the lack of women in the mid-range positions, this is hindering further progression and stagnating the pay gap.


Legal Companies

  • Some of the highest paid members of the team aren’t included in the data – this could confuse things somewhat.

    The interesting thing about analysis of the legal sector is that they are not required by law to include Partner income. According to the regulations coming in on Thursday, the definition of “employees” will exclude Partners as they are not classed on the payroll in the same way as Associates or Business Support. Often partners will only get paid once per year through dividends, or even if that dividend is split on a monthly basis, there is no requirement to include it.

    This will massively (and also unintentionally) skew the data. Some legal firms have already said that they will now start collecting the data on Partners so that they can compare the gender pay gap at that level and take more informed decisions about career progression for women.

  • A lot of women in the industry are doing the lower paid work
    The gender pay gap within legal industry is predominantly driven by low paid roles, primarily PA’s, who are predominantly women.
  • Location, Location, Location

    Location also has a significant impact due to the representation of staff in different areas. For example, if a law firm had offices in Bristol, Reading and London, what we are seeing is that there are higher concentrations of women working outside of London. This is due to the fact that more women are involved in business support rather than Partner-level decision making roles which take place outside of the City with a non-London allowance.

Utilities / Engineering

  • Where are all the women?

    We have primarily seen a large clustering of men in key departments, namely operations, engineering and construction, however the gender pay gap within these departments is not massive. What primarily accounts for the gender pay gap in this sector is the overall lack of women in this type of employment. Across all pay quartiles there are about 1 in 4 employees who are women.

This is just the beginning of our understanding of the gender pay gap in specific industries. As our data develops, so we will we, and our intention is to take you along with us.

So how do we move forward?

At Gapsquare we believe that companies and employees across the country will massively benefit from closing their gender pay gap. We know that gender diverse companies are “15% more likely to have financial returns above…industry averages” and that there is evidence that inclusiveness and diversity benefit us all. We are passionate about helping companies understand and take action on their gender pay gap and have developed tools specifically designed to make it simple for them to do so. Our CEO Zara Nanu calls this moment the “Tipping Point”  in ending gender pay gap inequality and we can all be a crucial part of the brave new world that awaits on the other side.

Please contact us for advice on how to analyse your gender pay gap:


Today’s Gender Pay Regulations – The Tipping Point in Ensuring Workforce Equality

The Gapsquare Team on Using Data to Eliminate the Gender Pay Gap

The Office of National Statistics puts the national gender pay gap in 2016 at 9.4% for full-time employees, although if you include part-time workers, the pay gap climbs to 18.1%. When you start looking at the breakdown across industries, the differences are even more stark. Construction and building trade supervisors have the highest gap, at a staggering 45%. Financial managers and directors come in second at 36%, even when their workforce has 41% women. This is not to say that other industries have a much smaller, or sometimes negative gender pay gap. In artistic, literary and media occupations, the pay gap is 2.7% with the same composition of the workforce as the finance sector. Hairdressers and barbers are at a negative pay gap of -1.1%, although women account for 90% of the workforce here.

Gapsquare are writing about tackling the Gender Pay Gap in collaboration with Equality & Diversity. Read more at

The Gapsquare Team on Using Data to Eliminate the Gender Pay Gap