How Redfin Paid Women and Men in 2018

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Every April, Redfin publishes data about how we pay women and men, comparing pay for titles filled by at least two men and two women. For the first time this year, we also have enough data about how pay compares for white and non-white employees in our most populous roles, which we plan to publish next month.

Pay Differences Between Men and Women

This post discusses differences between pay for men and women. In five of the fourteen roles for which we had sufficient data to report on, women earned more; for seven roles, men earned more; for two roles, the pay was exactly the same.

Employee Group Women % of Average Salary Men % of Average Salary
Entry-Level Buyers’ Real Estate Agents 100.0% 100.0%
Entry-Level Sellers’ Real Estate Agents 98.6% 101.6%
Senior Buyers’ Agents 98.9% 101.2%
Senior Sellers’ Agents 99.3% 101.2%
Team Managers 100.0% 100.0%
Software Developers, Seattle 98.9% 100.7%
Software Developers, San Francisco 101.1% 99.5%
Product Managers, Seattle 99.5% 100.5%
Licensed Support Staff 101.5% 95.6%
Unlicensed Support Staff 99.9% 100.2%
RedfinNow Buyers 96.3% 103.7%
Title, Closing, and Escrow Specialists 100.8% 99.4%
Data Analysts and Data Scientists 100.1% 99.9%
IT Helpdesk Analysts 106.9% 95.4%

The differences in pay among agents is tenure-driven, as bonuses and promotions are based on a formula, and the only factor affecting base pay besides promotion is tenure. In several agent roles, we have more tenured men than women. Among folks in support roles, women make more money because we have more tenured women.

The largest discrepancy in favor of men is for four RedfinNow buyers in Los Angeles, two men, two women. RedfinNow buyers are responsible for making instant offers on homes, which homeowners sometimes accept in lieu of a brokered sale.

The RedfinNow buyer is a relatively new role at Redfin, and a recent change to the buyers’ compensation plan affected the results. The new plan’s immediate impact affected the pay mix (salary vs. incentive ratio) based on tenure, but the total cash compensation for the role has increased overall. The salary discrepancies will close as we transition into this new pay mix.

The largest discrepancy in favor of women is for the help-desk analysts who solve employees’ computer and networking problems, but the group consists of only two women and three men, and the women have more experience.

What We’re Doing to Pay Men and Women Fairly

We’ll continue to be vigilant about systemic gaps in what men and women earn at Redfin. Last year, we talked about new policies to limit pay discrepancies, including proscriptions against asking job applicants for their pay history. The work we did to define and publish career ladders in engineering is reaching every Redfin department this June. We’ve also formalized how we calibrate pay across teams to make sure everyone is treated fairly.

Our major new initiative is to tell people what we pay for a role. This year, managers are explaining to their teams how we research market rates for each role, and how we decide what pay is fair for each level. We’re also sharing the midpoint of each role’s salary range, bonus, and equity targets, and the midpoint for the next role up.

Within each role, there is a proficiency level based on whether the employee is new to the role, established in the role, or experienced, and we’re explaining how we decide each employee’s proficiency, and how it affects pay. We’re also explaining how we decide who gets equity grants based on performance, and what the budget is for these grants. This level of pay transparency started in engineering, but we plan to expand this transparency to other departments later this year.


We made the pay comparison based on employees’ pay on February 28, 2019. For purposes of this analysis, we compared base salary only; incentive pay targets or actuals are not included, and in some cases make up a large portion of total cash compensation.  The pay comparisons for agents, team managers, and licensed support staff are limited to markets where we have at least two men and two women with the same title. For example, twenty-five markets qualified for the pay comparison of entry-level buyers’ agents; 19 for entry-level sellers’ agents.

Calculating the Weighted Average

For each row in the table, we make several comparisons between women’s and men’s pay , one comparison for each role or level of seniority. For example, we employ entry-level, mid-level and senior-level software programmers in Seattle. We average women’s and men’s pay for each level, and do the same for testers.

To calculate a weighted average for each row, we take the average of those averages, weighting each comparison according to how many employees are being compared. Others in the industry, like Microsoft and Glassdoor, have similarly weighted or adjusted their averages for gender-based pay comparisons.

Men and Women in Senior Roles

This is the best way to compare people within a given level, and then to synthesize that for many different levels within a group. But it obscures one reason men make more money than women: there are often more men in senior positions than women.

We can argue whether it is reasonable to compare a man deep in his career to a woman just starting out in hers, or if in fact it is necessary to make those comparisons because a glass ceiling is the real reason so many women don’t make the big bucks. We also have to acknowledge the tendency for male-dominated disciplines like engineering to pay more. What we can do now is show the distribution of women and men in entry-level and senior roles.

Employee Group % of Women in Entry-Level Roles % of Women in Senior-Level Roles
Buyers’ Agents 56.8% 54.2%
Sellers’ Agents 54.7% 60.9%
Seattle Engineers 42.9% 21.4%
Seattle Product Managers & Designers 66.7% 28.6%
San Francisco Engineers 40.0% 22.2%
San Francisco Product Management & Designers 57.1% 80.0%

This data highlights our biggest challenge, which is to develop more women for senior engineering roles; our pipeline of entry-level female engineers is good, but we need to retain and develop those women over the years.

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Chief Executive Officer

Glenn is the CEO of Redfin. Prior to joining Redfin, he was a co-founder of Plumtree Software, a Sequoia-backed, publicly traded company that created the enterprise portal software market. Glenn was raised in Seattle and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our Why Redfin page.

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