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Former Apple engineer shares her struggles with the gender pay gap, why she ultimately left the tech industry


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — More women in tech are talking about their salaries in an effort to close the pay gap.

When former Apple software engineering author Kate Rotondo negotiated working from home one to two days a week before the pandemic and an offer for more money than she had made before, she thought she was pretty well placed.

“It felt like a huge win to me,” Rotondo said.

Until Rotondo said she discovered three men on her team were working entirely remotely.

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She later learned that a man joining the team after her would earn more.

“When we compared his salary figures and my offer, he was offered a lot more money than I was earning and he was offered a higher level than I was leveled at and we were doing a comparable job,” Rotondo said.

Rotondo says she eventually spoke with eight men, all of whom confirmed making more money than her. She escalated her concerns up the chain of command.

“After several months they came back to tell me they would do a zero dollar adjustment and that’s when I gave my opinion,” Rotondo said.

VIDEO: What’s behind the gender pay gap?

Apple tells ABC7 News, “Since 2017, Apple has achieved and maintained gender pay equity for its employees worldwide. In the United States, we have also achieved pay equity with respect to race and ethnicity – as well as pay equity at the intersections of race and We do not ask for salary history during the recruiting process Our recruiters base their offers on Apple employees in similar positions And every year , we review the compensation employees receive and make adjustments to ensure we maintain pay equity.

According to an ABC7 News data analysis of data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average between 2018 and 2020, women in California earn $0.88 for every dollar earned by a man.

The pay gap differs by industry from 2019 to 2021, with some of the biggest disparities seen in legal professions. Technology-related industries are in the top 10 for wage disparity.

The graph is not displayed correctly? Click here to open in a new window.

Software engineer Cadran Cowansage’s own experience with underpayment led her to create Elpha in 2019, a professional network for women.

Elpha recently asked people to voluntarily submit salary data.

RELATED: CEOs Earned 299 Times More Than Their Average Employees Last Year

“I think it’s traditionally been quite a taboo subject, but it’s really changing and changing fast,” Cowansage said.

The graph is not displayed correctly? Click here to open in a new window.

Cowansage says he analyzed thousands of responses and found that not only are women paid less than men, but how much less depends on their race and ethnicity.

“When they negotiated, black and Latina women ended up getting salaries that were at the level of white and Asian women who didn’t negotiate at all,” Cowansage said.

“Negotiation is important, but companies also need to do a lot of work to make sure pay equity happens in their teams and a lot of that work is about pay transparency,” she continued.

Cowansage and Rotondo are proponents of transparency around pay bands and pay scales set by companies for specific roles.

RELATED: White House to Announce Measures to Close Gender and Racial Pay Gap for Federal Workers

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research predicts that the wage gap in California could close by 2043.

“Fighting your employer for fair pay is brutal, so part of the reason I left tech was to heal,” Rotondo said.

Rotondo is now a potter. Her company “Equal Clay” sells mugs that say “pay her more” and “fix systems, not women.”

His message is so popular that there is currently a waiting list.

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