Gender Gap! Google Researches Wage Inequality, Finds it Underpays Men

March 5th, 2019 2:14 PM

When Google investigated itself for gender wage gaps, it found a result few would have expected: it was underpaying men for doing the same general work as women. 

Google’s “pay equity analysis” released on Monday March 4 revealed unexpected truths about its gender pay gaps. Lead Analyst for Pay Equity Lauren Barbato began the memo titled “Ensuring we pay fairly and equitably” by proclaiming “Compensation should be based on what you do, not who you are.” She followed by explaining how it was drastically adjusting the pay rates for many men who had received less discretionary funds than women.

Ironically Google had been investigating itself on behalf of a lawsuit accusing it of paying women less than men. James Finberg, the lawyer who filed the suit, said he does not believe these findings are valid. "It is very disappointing that, instead of addressing the real gender pay inequities adverse to women, Google has decided to increase the compensation of 8,000 male software engineers,” he complained.

The New York Times brought up how  software engineer James Damore was fired for writing a memo in 2017 criticizing the company’s feminist/diversity policies. Daisuke Wakabayashi at The Times wrote that Demore “argued that biological differences and not a lack of opportunity explained the shortage of women in upper-tier positions.” 

When Google fired Damore, Wakabayashi wrote how conservatives at the time “argued that the company was dominated by people with liberal political and social views.” Damore sued Google on the premise that it was biased against white men with conservative views. That lawsuit has moved to “private arbitration” and its status has been reported as unclear.

The latest memo explained that, “Every year, each employee’s compensation is modeled algorithmically, based on work-related inputs like the market rate for their job, their location, level and performance rating.” 

The Times elaborated how Google responded by giving $9.7 million in additional compensation to 10,677 employees, most of whom were men. In other words, Google tried to fix its pay problem by giving added compensational pay to men who had not been paid as well as women for the same or similar jobs.

Google stressed in its memo how it tries to treat employees equally based upon merit. “Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location and performance,” Barbato wrote.  But the company also explained it is “undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes to make sure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all employees.”

Barbato, who presented these findings, said that the realization that more men were underpaid was a “surprising trend that we didn’t expect.”