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New Numbers Reveal Asian Wage Gap in Tech

Much has been written in recent months about the diversity of Silicon Valley’s tech companies. Google made headlines in May when it publicly revealed the gender and racial diversity of its workforce for the first time in a blog post.

“Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts,” wrote the company’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock.

Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo also released their diversity data. “The numbers confirmed long-standing suspicions about the culture of tech,” writes Katie Benner for Bloomberg View. “White men made up the biggest piece of the worker pie at Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn and eBay.”

Asian Americans are also well-represented among the tech ranks, making up 34% of Google's staff, 41% of Facebook's, and 57% at Yahoo. But researchers at the American Institute for Economic Research found that Asian tech workers on average made $8,146 less each year than white workers in 2012, $3,656 less than Black employees, and $6,907 less than those who identified as "other." Women, as a group on average, earn $6,358 less than men each year.

Many believe that part of the reason for the gap is that Asians are more likely to be foreign workers living in the United States on an H-1B visa. The study authors note that two out of ten employees in jobs “with a high H-1B demand is Asian” compared to eight percent of the general population.

The study makes a point to stress that the authors don’t believe that H-1B visas depress wages, but that “there are systematic wage differences in these computer technology and financial services occupations by race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, and children in the household.”

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