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Google Attempted to Address Gender Wage Gap, Found They Underpaid Men

Google Attempted to Address Gender Wage Gap, Found They Underpaid Men

About that gender wage gap…

The gender wage gap is a myth that has been debunked repeatedly. Despite bushels of evidence contradicting any disparage in wages based solely on gender, it’s remained a favorite progressive talking point and part of the neo-feminism cannon since it was introduced by the Obama White House.

In any case, Google set out to address what they believed was a gender wage gap negatively impacting its female employees only to find they were actually paying men less for similar work.

According to a report in the New York Times:

When Google conducted a study recently to determine whether the company was underpaying women and members of minority groups, it found that more men than women were receiving less money for doing similar work.

The surprising conclusion to the latest version of the annual study contrasted sharply with the experience of women working in Silicon Valley and in many other industries.

In response to the finding, Google gave $9.7 million in additional compensation to 10,677 employees for this year. Men account for about 69 percent of the company’s work force, but they received a disproportionately higher percentage of the money. The exact number of men who got raises is unclear.

And this is the money shot — Google, believing intentionally adjusted the income of women upwards, only to reconsider once an analysis found the decision created “a pronounced imbalance in compensation among lower-level software engineers, one of Google’s largest job groups, with a large number of men identified as being underpaid compared with their female peers.”

NYT ctd:

When Google managers initially considered what employees would be paid this year, they decided that more women than men should have their pay adjusted upward to account for factors like how they were compensated relative to their peers, the company said. The money in question came from a discretionary pool earmarked for such purposes.

One effect of the adjustments was to create a pronounced imbalance in compensation among lower-level software engineers, one of Google’s largest job groups, with a large number of men identified as being underpaid compared with their female peers. To offset that, further adjustments were made. Google said it saw no pattern in the reasons women were receiving more discretionary pay.

The study covered 91 percent of Google’s employees and compared their compensation — salaries, bonuses and company stock — within specific job types, job levels, performance and location.

Google said it was important to be consistent in following through on the findings of its analysis, even when the results were unexpected.

James Damore, former Google engineer who was allegedly fired for circulating a memo criticizing the web behemoths diversity policy, later commenced a class action complaint which alleged:

“Google’s open hostility for conservative thought is paired with invidious discrimination on the basis of race and gender, barred by law,” the complaint alleges. “Damore, Gudeman, and other class members were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males. This is the essence of discrimination—Google formed opinions about and then treated Plaintiffs not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in groups with assumed characteristics.”

Damore later abandoned the class action quest (other plaintiffs remain involved in the court battle) and has instead opted for arbitration.

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Comments

This trend actually started in the 60’s and has been well documented.

Google said it saw no pattern in the reasons women were receiving more discretionary pay.

Not one the legal department will let them admit publicly.

Especially in large software houses, this is a deliberate strategy. The belief is that women are impossible to fire or even lay off unless the company can show a history of . . . what, pampering? Over-indulging? I’m sure the legal department has a word for it . . . women, especially women whose jobs can be a bit vague (like software). Otherwise the company can be reamed in court with the ol’ “hostile work atmosphere” thing.

The situation is grotesque, but no mystery. The only strange thing is that Google is trying to address it. Since courts haven’t changed, and women haven’t changed, this would seem to leave Google dangerously vulnerable.

    tom_swift in reply to tom_swift. | March 4, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    The belief is . . .

    Actually, I’m sure there are all sorts of beliefs; but this may be the biggest specific one that department heads have actually groused to me about.

JusticeDelivered | March 4, 2019 at 6:08 pm

Are they going to lower women’s pay, or raise men’s pay?

The sex wage gap between male and female is real. The gender wage gap between masculine and feminine, respectively, is context-sensitive. How do people in the transgender spectrum fare?

    MattMusson in reply to n.n. | March 5, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Studies continually show that males are more likely to work overtime, work outside, take more dangerous jobs, take night and holiday shifts, and move for their jobs.

    Also, men are more likely to occupy jobs that are scalable. If he designs a widget that can be manufactured 100,000,000 times he will normally get paid more than a nurse who can only provide for a limited number of patients.

    Given those factors you would assume there would be a gender gap in compensation.

Back in the day when I was working I received a large pay increase because a female coworker at my wage level had a higher wage than I did. No one shared pay data so I had no idea that she was paid substantially more that I. We were both STEM employees with substantial but different responsibilities for company performance. If one has skills needed in the market place, economic freedom will insure you are paid accordingly.

Yeah, but James Damore isn’t going to get his job back.

They are deliberately vague on what “disproportionately higher percentage” means, as well as how much of the discovered gap is covered by $9.7 million. Technically, men getting 51% of the money qualifies as “disproportionately higher”, even though men are much more than 51% of their technical workforce and, I would bet, much more than 51% of those underpaid.

So what happens when “We’re a data-driven company” meets “we value diversity and inclusion”?

In business, “value” eventually must come down to money. If hiring managers are rewarded for improving diversity numbers then demand for those who qualify as diversity hires will increase and so, too, will the market value of these potential hires.

Why would anyone be surprised at this result?

And yet in other areas Google is very much a company whose motto might be, “In Numbers We Trust.” So, what’s required of the successful Googler is a species of Orwellian doublethink: “In Numbers We Trust Except In Certain Politically Sensitive Areas.”

So, presumably Googlers are expected to be smart enough to “just get it,” even if senior management doesn’t explicitly lay out the tortured logic required to figure out what the Company really wants and expects of them.

This is one of those things where data likely doesn’t work well. Female software engineers are a relatively rare commodity and I would expect that the ones wanting to work at Google are at the top of their game. There is also likely heavy competition for good female software engineers in the Valley, so the law of supply and demand likely is at work here, when socially-oriented companies are looking to check the diversity box. I’d also expect that other minority groups are also subject to supply and demand, resulting in similar wage gaps.

The problem with this, like many “affirmative action” programs (as well as unionized employers), is that you end up benefiting the mediocre and penalizing the high performers. That tends to drag everyone’s performance down.

And here’s the money quote:
“Google seems to be advancing a “flawed and incomplete sense of equality” by making sure men and women receive similar salaries for similar work, said Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a consulting company that advises companies on strategies for increasing diversity.”

So, there you have it: similar salaries for similar work is discriminatory: a complete sense of equality requires similar outcomes. Regardless of whether the work performed is actually similar in quality, quantity, or specialization.

The HR Commissar will see you now. She has the answers for you.

Disparity

The word you were looking for was: disparity

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