Google Details Processes but Not Data in Response to Department of Labor Accusations Over Equal Pay (Apr 11, 2017)
Last week, the Department of Labor accused Google of violating equal pay laws, in the context of an investigation into compliance as a result of Google’s work as a federal contractor. Google pushed back hard against those allegations immediately, but has now released a more detailed statement through its blog. That statement outlines the processes Google has in place to ensure fair pay, through the use of salary setting processes in which analysts calculating compensation packages don’t know the gender of the person for whom they are setting the salary, and other mechanisms to ensure fairness. What Google doesn’t do in this post is say what the current ratio of male to female pay is at the company, or share any other numbers to back up its claims, which is a bit surprising. The DoL claims to have found massive disparities in pay and systemic bias against women, so one would have thought the simplest way to rebut those accusations would be sharing some data, which Google hasn’t done publicly (though presumably feels it has done as part of the investigation). The DoL, meanwhile, continues to seek more data which Google refuses to provide, hence the lawsuit. As I said last week, given the issues over diversity and equal pay in the tech industry generally, it wouldn’t be enormously surprising to find that Google exhibited some of the same problems, but if evidence of significant issues does emerge, it would be more damaging to a company of its size than a smaller one with less of a reputation to maintain. So far, though, neither side is releasing data that would allow independent observers to draw their own conclusions.
In tech, the wage gender gap worsens for women over time, and it’s worst for black women – TechCrunch (Apr 5, 2017)
I covered a similar story a while back, but this one has more detail, and focuses more on gender in addition to racial disparities in tech salaries. It turns out that being a member both of an underrepresented gender and race increases your odds of being underpaid significantly, such that black and Latina women earn 79 cents for every dollar equivalently qualified men do. In part, as with that earlier study, this is because women often ask for lower salaries than men, though apparently only after their first few years in a career (in their first four years, they actually tend to ask for more). That, in turn, may reflect both conditioning in terms of what to expect and lower previous salaries. Regardless of the reasons, this is yet another sign of systemic problems in the tech industry when it comes to hiring women and racial minorities and paying them at the same rates as white men.