Despite improvements, the tech industry's gender pay gap remains above national average

A Glassdoor study found that the gender pay gap is still firmly in place in the tech industry and beyond, and that despite signs of progress, we're still decades away from reaching true pay equality.

Creating diversity in the workplace is a persistent challenge across industries, but online job review site Glassdoor found that many of the prime US tech jobs have higher levels of gender pay discrimination compared to other professions.

Glassdoor's latest economic research study looked into progress companies have made in closing the gender pay gap and improving salary transparency in the workplace. The study, which analyzed a dataset of hundreds of thousands of anonymously-shared salaries for specific job titles, found that the gender pay gap is still firmly in place in the tech industry and beyond, and that despite signs of progress, we're still decades away from reaching true pay equality.

SEE: Transgender employees in tech: Why this "progressive" industry has more work to do to achieve true gender inclusivity (TechRepublic cover story)

Overall, the gender pay gap in the US is 21.4 percent, meaning women earn, on average, $0.79 for every $1 men earn. That's a 2.7 percent shrink in the gender pay gap from three years ago. When controlling variables such as age, education, experience, occupation, industry, location, year, specific company and job title, the adjusted pay gap in the US becomes 4.9 percent, a roughly half percentage point decrease from 2016. 

In the tech industry, the adjusted pay gap sits just above the national average at 5.4 percent. The report listed the widest gender pay gap as 11.6 percent for computer programmer, 11.5 percent for data specialists, 9 percent for information security specialists, 8.8 percent for game artists, 8.1 percent for software architects, and 7.3 percent for SEO strategists. 

Although many tech jobs have large gender pay gaps, the overall IT sector sits right in the middle among industries.

The industries where pay gaps between men and women are widest are media, retail, construction, repair and maintenance, and oil, gas, and energy and utilities. Similarly, the occupations with the largest pay gap include pilots, chefs and C-level executives.

See: Interview tips: How to land your next tech job (free PDF)

Glassdoor says the recent improvement to the gender pay gap are likely due to today's robust economy and the fact that more women are participating in the labor force and entering male-dominated fields, helping to erode gender occupational segregation. 

Glassdoor, launched in 2008, is best known for allowing staff to review the companies they have worked for, and has around 64 million users per month. The company said it has data on more than 900,000 companies across 190 countries, including 47 million reviews of companies, CEO approval ratings, salary information, interview questions and office photos. It is also used for recruitment by more than 7,000 employers, including 40 percent of the Fortune 500.