A new report captures racial bias in hiring of engineers and suggests coders of all ethnicities should look for jobs outside Silicon Valley.

By Salvador Rodriguez

Inc., February 9, 2017 —

(Ilya Pavlov/Unsplash)

There’s no question that tech companies still struggle to hire African Americans, but when they do find that talent, those candidates are in fact considerably more likely to land job offers, according to an analysis released this week.

Hired, a tech startup that specializes in helping companies find talented candidates, said that the average black software engineer on its service is 49 percent more likely to get hired than a white person. Those candidates, however, typically make $10,000 less per year than their white counterparts, according to Hired’s “2017 State of Global Tech Salaries” report.

“It’s unclear if African American candidates are receiving more offers because of diversity initiatives, a lower preferred salary, or a combination of those and other factors,” said the report, which was released Thursday.

The report confirms that when it comes to hiring software engineers, the tech industry has quite a few biases based on ethnicity. Latino and Asian candidates, for example, are more likely to receive salaries that are more on par with white candidates, but they are also less likely to get hired. According to the report, Latino candidates are 26 percent less likely to get hired than white people while Asians are a whopping 45 percent less likely. They do, however, receive salaries that are on par with white software engineers.

“It is unclear why Latino and Asian candidates are less likely to get hired,” said Mehul Patel, CEO at Hired. “It could be based on latent unconscious bias in the selection process, the candidates’ preferred salary, which is much higher than that of their African American counterparts, or a combination of those and other factors.”

There also appears to be bias at work when it comes to the salaries earned by older candidates. The study found that once candidates cross the age of 45, their experience no longer appears to correlate with their proposed salaries or the total number of job offers they receive.

“It appears that after a certain age experience becomes less important and a candidate’s likelihood of being hired may be impacted by less tangible factors such as culture fit or experience with new technologies,” the report said.

To combat these biases, Hired said it connects the candidates on its service with talent advocates who can help them navigate the hiring process.

“Using proprietary data and market knowledge that takes skill set, experience, and geography into account, talent advocates advise candidates to make sure they’re asking for salaries in line with their market value,” Patel said.


Aside from patterns of bias, the report also sheds light on how geography influences what software engineers earn. For 2016, the top-paying market was the San Francisco Bay Area, which saw the average annual software engineer salary increase year-over-year by more than 3 percent to $134,000. Behind the Bay Area in the U.S. were Seattle, where coders earn $126,000, and New York City, at $120,000 a year.

When these salaries are adjusted for cost of living, however, the Bay Area turns out to be the worst paying market. Among the best-paying markets are Austin, where the average software engineer lives the equivalent life of a Bay Area engineer making $198,000 per year. That is followed by Denver, at $181,000, and San Diego, at $179,000.

Across the board, Hired found that companies in most markets offer higher salaries to software developers who are willing to relocate for their jobs than local talent. In markets like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., the difference in average local and relocation salary offers is higher than 8 percent.

“Our analysis shows it’s a great time for tech workers to consider a role outside Silicon Valley,” the report said.

“Whether looking to stretch their salaries or to be a part of a growing tech hub, companies across the globe are ready and willing to do what it takes to bring great candidates to their markets.”

Hired put together its findings after analyzing more than 280,000 interview requests and job offers done through its service throughout 2016. The data was drawn from 5,000 participating companies and 45,000 job seekers, the company said.